100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers – Nearly 800 Teens Die in Traffic Crashes During Summer Months, Says AAA

June 8, 2014 8:00 am · 14 comments

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.

1 94598 June 8, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Mayor- thanks for this article. My 17 yr old and I just read and discussed it.

2 TinFoiler June 8, 2014 at 9:45 AM

Article makes NO mention of electronic devices while operating a motor vehicle.
If you think the numbers are going to go down – I want what you’re smoking!!!
Distractions (mainly smartphones etc) are the new killers on the roads, Stop being hypocrites and acknowledge the elephant in your bathroom.

3 Nuttsie the Nutter June 8, 2014 at 10:06 AM

Gotta agree with TinFoiler on this one. I almost got hit the other day by a teenage girl. She was texting and almost couldn’t make the right turn she was attempting. Of course, she was one of the good drivers that can text and operate a motor vehicle safely. It is the other kids that can’t. When is law enforcement, law makers, cell phone manufactures and everyone else going to wake up to this epidemic?

4 SKS June 8, 2014 at 10:11 AM

All I gotta say about the report is “DUH!”.

5 Vanessa June 8, 2014 at 11:35 AM

No “DUH”!

6 Always Right June 8, 2014 at 12:08 PM

Good article. Technology can solve this. One day cars will have login passwords that define different protocols, one of which could be programmed by parents to require both hands on the steering wheel. Problem solved.

7 anonanonagain June 8, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Ahh. The arrogance of youth. You are invincible, it won’t, can’t possibly happen to me, etc. etc. I also agree that too many teens on the road are addicted to their smart phones. Checking their e-mails, Facebook accounts and texting. They don’t take driving seriously enough, yet so many adults don’t either. Not too many good examples on the road to emulate these days……

8 The Realist June 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

The converse should go for 55 and over… but of course no one will mention that, heaven forbid we offend an elder. Except when you are entering 242 and 80 year Granpa is doing 25 in their 1970s Caddy on the freeway, (happened to me the other week).
I can hear it now “Your a AGEIST!” Hey, if it keeps more people safe sure, I would accept the same restrictions at that age. No night time driving, limited passengers, and instead of a speed cap, make their vehicle have a speed minimum, if they can’t handle it, take their license away ASAP!

9 Starfish June 8, 2014 at 1:46 PM

so right, anonanonagain, what are the youth of this world to do now…

10 Silva June 8, 2014 at 5:04 PM

I was almost drifted into by a fully fledged adult looking at her phone today.

11 Silva June 8, 2014 at 5:11 PM

And I know what’s going to come next!

12 Tom June 8, 2014 at 5:38 PM

I remember when our kids learned how to drive. It wasn’t that long ago. I asked them how they felt about texting and driving. Or talking on their cell. They said only stupid people do that.

If you have good eye and hand coordination, and you pay attention at all times, you’ll be a good driver. Regardless of age.

13 Idiots... All of you. June 8, 2014 at 6:07 PM

People, hello, were you not teens at one time? Oh, you were responsible teens, that’s right.. I forgot. However teens these days are just all stupid. There’s no hope for them. No teens these days are responsible…. Except for the responsible ones, that we never hear about, yet they’re still punished for the idiots of their generation. A change of perspective can be helpful.

P.S. Cell phone companies are smart, they know who they’re targeting, and how to market to them. Sadly, people 35 and older are not their demographics. People ages 16-35 are much more likely to buy the latest and greatest phone, so that’s who they want to market to. So I can understand that older people wouldn’t understand why technology is such a part of the youth, but it’s simply that it’s pushed on us. On every street corner, commercial, web page, bus stop, there are ads for phone, laptops, data deals… Sure old people see them, but they’re made to catch the youths attention, not yours.

14 Michelle June 8, 2014 at 6:24 PM

Insurance rates have always been higher for anyone under the age of 25 just for this reason. So glad this study was finally published as a warning to parents and by one of the largest insurance carriers. How many teens were posted on Claycord who lost their lives because of reckless driving just in the past year. Thank you for posting this.

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