Teen drivers, through no fault of their own, are inexperienced, but they can and should take accountability when they engage in dangerous driving behaviors that endanger you and everyone on the roadway. Each year, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day mark summer’s “100 deadliest days,” a period of time where teen drivers take to the roads in record numbers and deadly teen-involved crash numbers spike as a result.
Nationally, per the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the number of fatal, teen-involved car crashes rises 15 percent during summer’s deadliest days, with inexperienced drivers spending less time in the classroom and more time out on the roads. Teenagers are far more likely than older drivers to engage in a range of dangerous driving behaviors, and their actions claimed more than 1,600 lives during “deadliest days” periods within the past five years.
Many teen drivers speed during summer’s deadliest days and throughout the rest of the year, and so much so that speed is a contributor to about 30 percent of all deadly crashes involving teens. Distracted driving, with many teens using cellphones or talking with other passengers behind the wheel, is also a major contributor to the high number of teen-involved traffic deaths. About six out of 10 of today’s teen-involved car crashes involve one or more types of driver distraction.
By the numbers
Teen drivers are 4.5 times as likely as adult drivers (between 30 and 59) to find themselves involved in a car accident, and they are 3.2 times as likely as adults ages 30 to 59 to find themselves involved in a fatal car crash. They are also 3.9 times more likely than those 18 and older to get into accidents, and 2.6 times more likely than those 18 and over to get into a car crash that involves a fatality.
While there is only so much you can do when other drivers behave negligently, you can do your part to improve safety by speaking with any teen drivers you have in your home about the risks of driving dangerously.