Memorial Day may mark the unofficial start of summer, but it also marks a dangerous time of year for young drivers.
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 16 to 19, according to AAA.
For every mile driven, new teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to adults, AAA said.
Nationwide, more than 30% of deaths involving teen drivers occur during what’s called the “100 Deadliest Days,” which is a period that runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
“Summer is historically a dangerous time for teen drivers,” said Mark Jenkins, AAA spokesman. “Now that school is out, teens will spend more time on the road, often driving with friends at odd hours of the day and night. Because of their inexperience, teens are more susceptible to dangerous driving behaviors -- like speeding, driving distracted, and not wearing a safety belt. AAA urges parents to model safe driving behavior and reinforce safe driving habits with their teen drivers to help keep them safe this summer.”
National Teen Driver Statistics from AAA:
- An average of 2,108 teens are involved in deadly crashes, every year. 660 (31%) of those occur during the 100 Deadliest Days.
- These crashes result in an average of 2,341 deaths per year. 732 of those fatalities occur during the 100 Deadliest Days.
Florida Teen Driver Statistics from AAA:
- On average, 153 teen drivers are involved in fatal crashes, each year. 40 (26%) of those occur during the 100 Deadliest Days.
- These crashes result in an average of 169 deaths per year. 44 (26%) of those fatalities occur during the 100 Deadliest Days.
Common Risk Factors for Teen Drivers
Understanding the risks and knowing the facts will prepare both you and your teen for the road ahead:
- Distracted driving. Distraction plays a role in nearly six out of ten teen crashes. Electronics like cell phones and in-vehicle infotainment systems are considered the second-biggest distraction to teen drivers. The biggest distractions are teen passengers.
- Driving with teen passengers. Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash increases in direct relation to the number of teenagers in a car (NHTSA). Having other passengers in the car can contribute to peer pressure and the impulse to engage in dangerous habits like speeding and aggressive driving.
- Speeding. Speeding is a factor in nearly 30% of fatal crashes involving teen drivers.
- Not wearing a safety belt. Teens who buckle up significantly reduce their risk of dying or being seriously injured in a crash.