According to a 2012 national study by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are deadly for teen drivers. An average of 261 teens dies in traffic crashes during each of the summer months, a 26 percent increase compared to the rest of the year. This represents an average of nearly 800 teen deaths during the summer months.
Over the past five years, nearly 4,000 teen drivers and passengers (13 and 19 years old) died in traffic crashes between Memorial Day and Labor Day, making this the deadliest season for teens.
“With motor vehicle crashes ranking as the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, AAA is urging parents to be more involved with their teen drivers,” said Cynthia Harris, spokesperson AAA Northern California. “Studies reveal that parents, who set limits on their teen’s initial driving privileges, will lower risky driving behavior, traffic violations, and crashes among novice drivers.”
According to AAA, teen drivers face a number of safety challenges including:
- Teenage drivers have the highest rates of crashes that result in the death of other people such as passengers, pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles.
- Risky behaviors increased for 16 and 17 year- old drivers as the number of teen passengers increased.
- Drivers aged 16 and 17 are involved in about seven times as many crashes per mile driven, compared to drivers in their 40s,50s and 60s.
- Each day in 2012, an average of seven teenagers died as a result of a motor vehicle crash.
The AAA Foundation study shows that teen passengers can be a distraction for novice teen drivers, and contribute to teens taking risks behind the wheel. Compared to driving without passengers, a fatal crash risk:
- Quadruples when carrying three or more passengers younger than 21.
- Doubles when carrying two passengers younger than 21.
- Increases by 44 percent when carrying one passenger younger than 21.
AAA recommends that all states adopt and enforce a comprehensive three-stage graduated license system (GDL) for novice drivers that limits nighttime driving and driving with young passengers. The maximum safety benefits from GDL policies include a 20 percent lower fatal crash rate, when beginner drivers are prohibited from having any passengers in the car.
AAA has a wide range of tools available at TeenDriving.AAA.com to help parents simplify the learning-to-drive process, including parent-teen driving agreements, online webinars, licensing information and free online information developed from a National Institutes of Health program.
Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is an independent, publicly funded, 501(c) (3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. Visit www.aaafoundation.org or www.facebook.com/AAAFTS for more information.
AAA Northern California offers a wide array of automotive, travel, insurance, DMV, financial services and consumer discounts to more than 4.1 million members. AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers since it was founded more than 114 years ago.