More than 1,050 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver in 2016 during the 100 Deadliest Days, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That is an average of 10 people per day – a 14 percent increase compared to the rest of the year, according to data analyzed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. As school lets out for summer, AAA stresses the importance of preparing and educating inexperienced teen drivers for some of the most dangerous driving days of the year.
“The number of fatal crashes involving teen drivers during the summer is an important traffic safety concern and research shows that young drivers are at greater risk and have higher crash rates compared to older and more experienced drivers,” said Dr. David Yang, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety executive director. “Through education, proper training, and involvement of parents, we can help our young drivers to become better and safer drivers, which in turn keeps the roads safer for everyone.”
Speed and nighttime driving are significant factors contributing towards the number of crashes, and subsequently fatalities, involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days (statistics based on 2016 NHTSA FARS data as analyzed by the AAA Foundation):
• 36 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involving teen drivers occurred between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.
• 1 in 10 of all motor vehicle nighttime crash fatalities involved a teen driver
• Data show a 22 percent increase in the average number of nighttime crashes per day involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days compared to the rest of the year
• 1 in 10 of all motor vehicle speed-related fatalities involved a teen driver
• 29 percent of all motor vehicle deaths involving a teen driver were speed-related
In California, teen driver fatalities (age 16-19) increased 26.4 percent from 72 in 2013 to 91 in 2014. Males make up nearly 77 percent of teen driver fatalities, according to California Office of Traffic Safety statistics.
Local examples of the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers include last summer in Anaheim when a teen-age driver was arrested in a drunken driving crash after speeding down a residential street in the early morning hours. The male driver, 18, lost control of his vehicle about 3 a.m., police said, collided with another vehicle pulling into an apartment complex driveway. The other driver was pronounced dead at the crash scene.
Last July, a teen driver in Santa Ana was arrested for driving under the influence when he drove onto a sidewalk and hit two pedestrians. In all, two teen-age pedestrians and also two passengers were hurt.
In Poway, a female teen driver was killed when the Ford Focus she was driving crashed into a truck that had broken down at the side of the road. Her teen passenger was taken by air ambulance to a local hospital for treatment.
“Nearly every state, including California, has a law restricting how late teens may be out on the roads,” said Anita Lorz-Villagrana, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Community Programs and Traffic Safety manager. “This is a timely reminder for parents to be proactively involved in their teen’s learning-to-drive process, understanding the risks and to be educated on California’s teen driving law.”
In preparation for the dangerous summer driving period, AAA encourages parents to educate their teens and themselves about risky driving behavior. Parents should:
• Discuss with teens early and often the dangers of risky driving situations, such as speeding and nighttime driving.
• Teach by example and minimize your own risky behavior when behind the wheel.
• Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers. Consider setting driving limits that are stronger than a state’s law, and enforce those limits.
TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools, including licensing and state law information, to help prepare parents and teens for not only the dangerous summer driving season, but also all year long. The site also features new interactive widgets highlighting teen driving risks, as well as a social host quiz.
The Auto Club also offers Dare to Prepare workshops for parents and teens. It offers resources for parents on how to be effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges. Go to www.AAA.com to register for an upcoming summer workshop.
Strengthening teen driving laws to increase roadway safety is a top priority for AAA. The Association’s advocacy efforts are helping to protect teens by working to pass graduated driver licensing laws, including seat belt requirements, wireless device bans and nighttime driving and passenger restrictions, in states across the country.
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