Nationwide, 7,124 people died in crashes involving teen drivers from 2011 to 2020 during the “100 Deadliest Days,” the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That is nearly half of the total number of those killed in teen-driver crashes for the entire rest of the year. And in 2020 alone, 850 people were killed in these types of crashes, up from 716 the previous year - nearly a 20% increase. AAA recommends that now is a good time for parents to both model safe driving behaviors and help ensure their teens practice them too.
“There are more daily deaths in crashes involving teen drivers during the summer months than the rest of the year because teens tend to have more unstructured time behind the wheel,” said Pat Moody, manager of public affairs for AAA Northern new England. “So what can be done? We can encourage teens to double down on staying focused when driving, buckling up for every ride, and driving within posted speed limits. It’s never too soon to educate teens on the dangers of the impairing effects of alcohol and marijuana. But actions speak louder than words. Remember to model good behavior because your teen won’t take your advice seriously if you don’t follow it yourself.”
As teens take to the road this summer, AAA recommends that now is an excellent time to remind parents to model safe driving behaviors and help ensure their teens practice them too. Due to their inexperience, teen drivers are at a higher risk of crashes.
According to the AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index, about 72% of teen drivers aged 16-18 admitted to having engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors in the past 30 days:
- Driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street (47%)
- Driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway (40%)
- Texting (35%)
- Red-light running (32%)
- Aggressive driving (31%)
- Drowsy driving (25%)
- Driving without a seatbelt (17%)
To keep roads safer this summer, AAA reminds parents that they can make a difference and that the single most important step they can take to protect the life of their teen is to be actively involved in the learning-to-drive experience. According to research, teens value the opinions of their parents most of all (even if it doesn’t always seem like it). That’s why sharing knowledge and experience about safe driving is so important. Now is the time to begin a potentially life-saving dialogue with your teen.
As the parent, your job is to manage and coach your teen into becoming a safe, experienced driver through practice driving and mentoring. It is important to be aware of the risks, set and enforce rules, and model safe and responsible driving. Parents need to provide a framework for their teens that guide their decision-making and behaviors, even when they are not around. Parents play a critical role in their teen’s learning-to-drive process. If your teen has recently earned their permit now is a great time to invest in their save driving development. For tips on how to help teach teens to drive, download AAA’s free Parent Coaching Guide.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 62 million members with travel, insurance, financial, and automotive-related services. Operating 18 offices throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, AAA Northern New England is a not-for-profit, fully tax-paying corporation and serves as an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers, visit AAA.co