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May-28-2020 17:14printcomments

COVID-19 Restrictions Ease as 100 Deadliest Days Begin for Teen Drivers

New data looks at 10 years of fatal teen crash rates between Memorial Day and Labor Day

Teen drivers
Image: AAA/Oregon

(SALEM, Ore.) - AAA finds that the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are when the number of crash fatalities involving teen drivers rise. In Oregon, 86 people died in crashes involving teen drivers from 2008 to 2018 during the “100 Deadliest Days.” Nationwide, more than 8,300 people died in these crashes—that’s more than seven people a day each summer.

This year, the combination of schools closed, activities curtailed, summer jobs canceled, and COVID-19 restrictions being lifted could prove deadly as teens take to the road this summer.

“The last decade of crash data show shows that teens continue to be over-represented in crashes and summertime marks an increase of fatal crashes for this age group,” said Dr. David Yang, Executive Director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

“Our data analysis has found that for every mile driven, new teen drivers ages 16-17 years old are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to adults.”

Due to their inexperience, teen drivers are at a higher risk of crashes. According to the new AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index, about 72% of teen drivers aged 16-18 admitted to having engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors in the past 30 days:

  • Driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street (47%)
  • Driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway (40%)
  • Texting (35%)
  • Red-light running (32%)
  • Aggressive driving (31%)
  • Drowsy driving (25%)
  • Driving without a seatbelt (17%)

AAA has advice for parents:

  • Talk with teens early and often about abstaining from dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving.
  • Teach by example and minimize risky behavior when driving.
  • Establish a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
  • Conduct at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving with their teen.

AAA has helpful tools for parents and teens:

  • Visit TeenDriving.AAA.com for state-specific information and resources for parents and teens.
  • Check out the free AAA Coaching Guide for Parents with behind-the-wheel lesson plans, and some “DOs and DON’Ts” to make the learning experience go as smoothly as possible.
  • The online AAA StartSmart Online Parent Session ($24.95) is a two-hour webinar that offers excellent resources for parents on how to become effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges. It explains the licensing process and the parents’ role in it.

“Parents are the key to keeping teens safe behind the wheel,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.

“It’s very important to talk to your teens about the dangers of distracted driving, speeding and impaired driving. Kids may roll their eyes but they really do want to hear your advice.

"It’s also critical for parents to model good behavior because your teens won’t take you seriously if you don’t follow your own advice.”

Source: AAA/Oregon

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