AAA Recommends Parents Act Now to Decrease Risks During the “100 Deadliest Days”.
Editor’s Note: Data from Washington & Idaho is bold.
BELLEVUE, Wash. — Summer presents a particularly dangerous stretch for teen drivers who have more time to spend behind the wheel, yet lack the experience, skills and maturity of more seasoned drivers. AAA encourages parents to help reduce crash risks during these “100 Deadliest Days” by modeling safe driving behaviors and ensuring their teens adopt them.
Memorial Day through Labor Day represents less than one third (27%) of a year. Yet, the latest teen crash data shows that from 2010 to 2019, more than half the teen driving-related deaths happened during this period; more than 7,000 people killed nationwide, 343 of them in Washington, and 265 in Idaho.
“There are more fatal crashes involving teen drivers during the summer months than the rest of the year because teens tend to have more unstructured time behind the wheel and lack experience,” said Kelly Just, AAA Washington’s traffic safety programs manager. “To prevent these tragedies, we encourage teens to double down on staying focused when driving by putting their phones away, buckling up for every ride, and driving within posted speed limits.”
When it comes to overall teen driver-related deaths per capita, Washington ranked tenth for the least amount in 2019 – with 24 fatalities, Idaho ranked 29th – with 14 fatalities. However, more than half (54%) of those Washington deaths happened during the 100 Deadliest Days compared to more than a third (35%) in Idaho.
Summer is the perfect time for parents to practice safe driving with their teens. Just having an adult, aged 35 or older, in the car lowers a teen driver’s risk of death by 62%. AAA’s “Coaching Your New Driver” guide provides behind-the-wheel lesson plans, including various “DOs and DON’Ts” to make this learning experience as helpful as possible.
“It’s never too soon to educate teens on the dangers of distracted driving, speeding and the impairing effects of alcohol and marijuana,” said Just. “But it’s not enough to tell teens about the dangers. Parents and caregivers must also stop engaging in risky driving and model good driving habits.”
To keep roads safer this summer, AAA encourages parents to:
- Always buckle up.
- Be a safe passenger with teen and adult drivers.
- Prohibit your teen from riding with teen drivers or transporting other teens during the learning-to-drive process. Other teen passengers are one of the most dangerous sources of distraction for teen drivers, whether due to loud music, rowdy behavior or peer pressure.
- Do not allow a cell phone to be used by you or your teen, and make an effort to block out other distractions. Include strict rules related to distraction in your Parent-Teen Driving Agreement before your teen drives solo.
Visit TeenDriving.AAA.com for additional tools to help parents and teen drivers prepare for the summer driving season.