Major Factors are Speeding, Impaired Driving and Distraction
PORTLAND, Ore., – Over the past five years, nearly 3,500 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when the number of crash fatalities involving a teen driver historically rise. New crash data from 2013 through 2017 reveals major factors contributing to fatal teen crashes during the summer driving period include:
- Speeding (28 percent)
- Drinking and driving (17 percent)
- Distraction (9 percent)
The complete report is available at the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Find B-roll video of Teens Learning to Drive and Distracted Teen Drivers. AAA is partnering with Sprint to spread the word to parents and teens about safe driving this summer.
“Crash data shows that teens are a vulnerable driver group with a higher probability of being involved in crashes,” said Dr. David Yang, Executive Director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “And while teens may make mistakes when first learning to drive, it is important to continue educating them about safety behind the wheel so they avoid the reckless behaviors that put themselves and others at risk on the road.”
AAA Foundation research found that nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel. Crashes for teen drivers increase significantly during the summer because teens are out of school and driving more. Over the past five years during the “100 Deadliest Days”:
- An average of almost 700 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers.
- The average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 15 to 18 was 17 percent higher per day compared to other days of the year.
Reckless behavior such as drinking and driving, speeding and distraction are contributing to the alarming number of crash deaths involving teen drivers each summer.
Speeding significantly increases the severity of a crash and is a growing problem among teen drivers. In the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index, half (49.7 percent) of teen drivers reported speeding on a residential street in the past 30 days and nearly 40 percent say they sped on the freeway.
Drinking and Driving
Despite the fact that teens cannot legally consume alcohol, one in six teen drivers involved in fatal crashes during the summer tested positive for alcohol.
Distraction – Under-reported Problem
More than half of teen drivers (52 percent) in the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index report reading a text message or email while driving in the past 30 days and nearly 40 percent report sending a text or email. It is difficult for law enforcement to detect distraction following a crash, which has made distracted driving one of the most underreported traffic safety issues.
Additional AAA Foundation research using in-vehicle dash-cam videos of teen driver crashes found distraction was involved in 58 percent of teen crashes, approximately four times as many as federal estimates.
AAA’s advice for parents
“As the dangerous summer driving period begins, AAA encourages parents to educate their teens and themselves about risky driving behavior. Parents are key when it comes to keeping teen drivers and everyone else safe behind the wheel,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.
AAA encourages parents to:
- Talk with teens early and often about dangerous behaviors behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving.
- Teach by example and minimize risky behavior when driving. Buckle your seat belt, follow speed limits, put your phone away and ditch other distractions while driving.
- Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
“Remind your kids often that safety is the most important thing when behind the wheel, and that they should store their phones out of reach, mind the speed limit and stay away from impairing substances such as alcohol and marijuana before driving. Following these guidelines will help prevent many crashes from ever occurring,” adds Dodds.
AAA Website has resources for parents and teens
TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season and all year long. The online AAA StartSmart program also offers great resources for parents on how to become effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges. Teens preparing for the responsibility of driving should enroll in a driver education program that teaches how to avoid driver distraction and other safety skills.
About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, 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. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.
About AAA: AAA provides more than 59 million members with automotive, travel, insurance and financial services through its federation of 34 motor clubs and nearly 1,100 branch offices across North America. Since 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for safe mobility. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit AAA.com.
AAA news releases, high resolution images, broadcast-quality video, fact sheets and podcasts are available on the AAA NewsRoom at NewsRoom.AAA.com.