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The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer Are Here

With summer comes an increasing number of teenage deaths on the roadways.

Summer is known as a joyous time, filled less with work and school, and more with relaxation and vacation. But behind the leisurely veneer lurks a serious threat on the roadways: There is a sharp increase in automobile fatalities involving teen drivers from Memorial Day to Labor Day, leading experts to refer to this time of the year as the 100 Deadliest Days.

It’s easy to chalk up the increase to the fact that more teens are driving for longer periods in the summer since schools are out and they have more free time. But it’s really the driving behavior that greatly increases the risk of a crash. “We know that when teens are joyriding as opposed to driving with a specific destination and time in mind, there is a heightened risk,” said Diana Gugliotta, Senior Manager of Public Affairs for AAA Northeast.

Another major risk factor is the number and ages of the other passengers in the teen-driven car. “Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that when a teen driver has only teen passengers in their vehicle, the fatality rate for all people increased 51%,” Gugliotta said. “In contrast, when older passengers (35 or older) ride with a teen driver, overall fatality rates in crashes decreased 8%.”

Teen Driving Statistics

    • In 2018, there were 1,719 young drivers who died and an estimated 199,000 young drivers who were injured in motor vehicle crashes.
    • 8% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2018 were 15 to 20 years old, yet young drivers accounted for only 5.3% of the total number of licensed drivers in the United States in 2018.
    • The rate of drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers for young female drivers was 22.65 in 2018.
    • For young male drivers in 2018 the involvement rate was 46.08, more than 2 times that of young female drivers.
    • Of the young drivers killed with known restraint use, 49% were unrestrained at the time of the crashes in 2018.
    • 24% of young drivers 15 to 20 years old who were killed in crashes in 2018 had blood alcohol concentrations of .01 g/dL or higher; 82% of those young drivers killed who had alcohol in their systems also had BACs of .08 g/dL or higher.

Parents’ Roles

Parents should set very specific household rules with their teen drivers. AAA offers a parent/teen driving contract, which you can find at AAA.com/DeadliestDays, to help guide the process. The website also contains state-specific information on graduated driver licensing laws and passenger restrictions.

Many states have passenger restrictions for teen drivers, and parents should educate themselves on these laws and stress compliance with their teens. Gugliotta recommends going even further.

“Parents should consider setting driving limits that are stronger than a state’s law, and enforce those limits, especially for the summer driving season.”

Find more safe driving tips for your teenage motorist during the 100 Deadliest Days at AAA.com/DeadliestDays

Comments
  • Robert A.

    Thank you for this article!!! It is a really helpful reminder and I truly appreciated all of the powerful statistical information!

    Reply
  • Shadi J.

    I believe all teenagers should at least be accompanied by one (1) adult until they the required age of adulthood.

    Reply
  • octoberday

    Unfortunately, now that marijuana has been legalized locally (not Federally — yet), the picture may get worse than before. This is so difficult to comprehend when government just recently placed severe restrictions on the population, supposedly to protect us (from COVID). How concerned about the well being of the people could they REALLY be?

    Reply
    • Steve J.

      Alcohol and drunk driving has and continues to be the biggest problem….. sadly a short sighted comment.

      Reply
  • LeeAnn F.

    Bring back the standard transmission! It’s difficult to text, tune the radio, reach for your wallet, purse, etc… driving is a skill that is acquired by practice,patience, and paying attention to your vehicle and everything around you.

    Reply
  • Steve

    Thank you for the article and the sad statistics. Unfortunately, inexperience and bravado make teen drivers much more likely to be involved in accidents.

    Reply
    • Gary H.

      After 32 years in law enforcement, 8 years in local enforcement, and 24 years state trooper responding to many, many horrific motor vehicle accidents I believe I have enough experience to comment on this issue. First, students in all schools should be taught drivers safety beginning in the seventh grade for at least 1 hour per week ‘mandatory’. Hopefully this ongoing training will instill in each of them how serious and dangerous driving is today. Operating a motor vehicle in present times is more dangerous now than when I began to drive in 1966. Furthermore, every student should have to observe mangled, severed limbs, severed heads and charcoal burnt bodies during class training, this should be required several times. Some might think what I’m suggesting is to gruesome for a young adult to watch, but in the end it just might alleviate a mother and father having to make an identification of their dead mangled child in the morgue. Also, it might help a young adult from becoming a paraplegic from a car crash for the rest of their life. If any one doubts what I’m saying just visit some long term care facilities where many young adults spend the rest of their lives from a car crash because their families are unable to care for t
      them. Yes long term care facilities are not just for the elderly.

      Reply
  • Janelle A.

    15 even 16 is too young to drive. The driving age should be changed to a minimum of 18. Many may not agree with me but all things considered it makes sense.

    Reply
  • dorothy h.

    Children learn through watching role models, instruction, or trial and error. Perhaps driver education needs to be a required free course in school. This would ensure Instruction is available and affordable. It could save lives/ injuries of anyone on the road; not just the driver. Automobile insurance companies give discounts to drivers who attend Driver Safety Courses because it results in less insurance claims. Education is a Win Win Situation.

    Reply

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