The stretch of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day has been called the “100 Deadliest Days” by AAA, as the number of fatal car crashes involving teen drivers spikes during this time. Over 5,000 deaths have been reported over the summer for the past five years, a rate that is 16 percent higher than other times of the year.
Teens drive more over the summer than other times of the year since school is out. They frequently drive greater distances as well, traveling to summer jobs or heading to the beach or other vacation destinations. In addition, teen drivers are generally the least experienced drivers out there and are the age group that’s most likely to drive while distracted. All these circumstances make for a volatile combination.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that a whopping 60 percent of crashes involving teen drivers were due to distracted driving. The organization conducted a study from 2007-2015 in which teen drivers’ cars were equipped with a camera system that recorded video, audio, and acceleration forces. The data gathered following approximately 2,200 crashes indicated the top three forms of distracted teen driving:
- Talking to or paying attention to other passengers accounted for 15 percent of crashes. The more passengers, the higher the risk.
- Cell phone activities, including texting and talking, contributed 12 percent. Texting alone creates a crash risk 23 times greater than undistracted driving.
- Tending to something inside the vehicle, such as the radio or GPS, checked in at 11 percent.
Education and improved parent/child communication play major roles in reducing deadly teen crashes. Stricter laws on texting while driving may be beneficial as well.