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AAA: The 100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers Have Begun

Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of summer and a period known as the “100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers,” which runs through Labor Day weekend. This is a time when there is an increase in the number of fatal crashes involving teen drivers.

“The risk gets higher during the summer for teen drivers and everyone else they share the road with,” said Megan Cooper, spokeswoman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Now that school is out, these young, inexperienced drivers will spend more time on the road with their friends.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly half of teen driver-related deaths occur during the 100 Deadliest Days. A total of nearly 6,700 people were killed during this period, from 2013-2022. In 2022 alone, 707 people were killed in these types of crashes – a 10% increase over pre-pandemic 2019.

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“The important thing to realize is the people killed in these crashes are not always the teen driver, but it can be their passengers or anyone else they encounter on the road,” Cooper continued. “AAA shares this information to remind all drivers to stay alert while behind the wheel this summer. We also encourage parents to have a serious discussion with their teen about the importance of being a safe driver.” 

Common Risk Factors for Teen Drivers

Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 16-19. For every mile driven, new teen drivers (ages 16 – 17) are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to adults.

  • 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 percent 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.

AAA’s Advice for Parents

“The single most important thing parents can do to help their teens become safe drivers is to be involved in their ‘learning to drive’ process,” said Rachel Wilson, Director of Driver Education Programs, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Spend time coaching your teen while they’re behind the wheel and have a serious discussion about safety. While parents can be great teachers, it also helps to seek out professional training courses, like those provided by AAA.”

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  • Lead by example. Minimize risky behavior when you drive. Don’t drive aggressively, avoid distractions, and always wear your seatbelt. Your driving skills and judgement behind the wheel shape your child’s view of safe driving habits, even before they’re old enough to drive. Make safe driving a priority in your own life.
  • Conduct at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving. Let your teen drive in a variety of conditions including inclement weather, busy interstates, and at night. This will help them become a more confident driver in imperfect situations.
  • Teach defensive driving skills. Help your teen anticipate potential risks by constantly scanning the road for hazards. Then share advice for how to safely avoid them. 
  • Establish a parent-teen driving agreement which sets family rules like when the teen can drive, where they can go and with who. Then clearly outline the consequences for breaking the rules and rewards for driving safe.

AAA offers an Online Driving Course

AAA’s How to Drive Online provides a solid foundation of the knowledge and skills necessary to reduce a teen’s risk behind the wheel. This supplemental program is an online, 25-hour course that features:

  • Convenient, self-paced delivery.
  • Research-based curriculum.
  • Videos, simulations, and interactive exercises to enhance content retention.
  • Optional virtual parent session to help educate parents on the learning to drive process.

Behind the Wheel Driving Courses

The AAA Approved Driving School Network helps identify the best driver training resources in your local community. These schools have passed AAA’s stringent standards and offer quality curriculum as well as the best value for students.

To learn more, visit AAA.com/Drive contact DriverTraining2@acg.aaa.com or call (888) 222-7108.

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