AAA ranks deadliest dates for teen drivers


Posted: Jun 04, 2013 8:26 PM EDT

Posted By WSLS Staff

AAA Mid-Atlantic news release

As the calendar turns to June and thoughts turn to the easy living of long, sunny days, AAA Mid-Atlantic warns that the summer months hold some of the deadliest days for teen drivers.

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic's analysis of crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), six of the 10 deadliest days for teen drivers and their passengers fell during the 100 or so days between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2011.

"AAA urges parents to increase their focus on safety during the school-free, high-risk summer months ahead when teens drive more and often have less supervision," says Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  "Weekends are particularly dangerous for teen drivers."

AAA Mid-Atlantic's analysis also found 980 teen drivers (ages 16-20) and their passengers died in traffic crashes nationally between Memorial and Labor Day during 2011, compared to 2,154 deaths during non-summer months.

The number of crashes, injuries and fatalities is influenced by the day of week, as well in some cases the actual calendar date.  For example, during 2011, July 4th fell on a Monday providing people with a long three-day weekend.  But July 4, the only non-weekend day in the top 10, saw less than half the teen driver fatalities than July 3, which would have included post-midnight driving from Saturday, July 2.  There were 13 teen driver fatalities on July 3, and 5 on the actual July 4th holiday.  This year, July 4th falls on a Thursday.

To keep teens safe during these dangerous months and year round, AAA Mid-Atlantic suggests the following tips for parents:


·         Eliminate trips without purpose. Teens have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, based on amount of miles driven, and a teen's crash risk is highest during the first year of solo driving. Limit teens' driving to essential trips and only with parental permission for at least the first year of driving.


·         Limit passengers. Crash rates increase with each teen passenger in the vehicle. In fact, fatal crash rates for 16- to 19-year-olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers are present versus when teens drive alone. Also, riding in a vehicle with a teen driver can be risky for teen passengers. Establish passenger limits and restrict teens from riding as a passenger with a teen driver.


·         Restrict night driving. A teen driver's chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles at night. Many parents limit driving during the highest-risk late night hours, yet should consider limiting evening driving as well, as more than half of nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.

·         Teach your teens how to drive. Summer offers the perfect opportunity for teens to learn how to drive and the best way for new teen drivers to gain experience is through parent-supervised practice driving, where parents can share their wisdom accumulated over many years of driving. Even after a teen has a license that allows solo driving, parents and teens should continue to practice driving together to help the teen manage increasingly more complex and challenging driving conditions. 


·         Establish a parent-teen driving agreement. Written agreements help set and enforce clear rules about night driving, passengers, access to the car, and more. AAA offers a parent-teen driving agreement on its teen driver safety website,  The website also provides a variety of additional tools and resources for parents and teens as they progress through the learning-to-drive process.


·         Be there. Make sure your teen knows that if they need help, advice or a ride, they can call you at any time. Extend this offer often and let your teen know that you are always available, and that they will not be judged or punished should they need your help.

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