June 3, 2014
The 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest days for teen drivers, according to an analysis by AAA. An average of 261 teens die in traffic crashes during each of the summer months, a 26 percent increase compared to the rest of the year. Over the course of five years, nearly 4,000 teen drivers and passengers (between 13 and 19 years old) died in traffic crashes between the two holidays. With that in mind, AAA urges parents of teens to increase their focus on safety during the school-free months ahead.
“Life feels more care-free when school’s out and teens have more opportunities to drive or ride in cars late at night with other teens – a deadly mix,” said Mike Belcuore, Operations Manager for AAA Driving School. “Parents must realize that there is no summer break from safety and they must remain involved and enforce rules with their teens.”
Studies have shown risky driving, traffic violations and crashes to be lower among teens whose parents set limits on their initial driving privileges. AAA Driving School suggests the following tips for parents to keep teen drivers safe:
Restrict driving and eliminate trips without purpose –Teens have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, based on amount of miles driven, and a teen’s crash risk is highest during the first year of solo driving. Parents should limit teens’ driving to essential trips and only with parental permission for at least the first year of driving.
Become an effective driving coach – The best way for new teen drivers to gain experience is through parent-supervised practice driving, where parents can share their wisdom accumulated over many years of driving. Even after a teen has a license that allows solo driving, parents and teens should continue to practice driving together to help the teen manage increasingly complex and challenging driving conditions.
Establish a parent-teen driving agreement – Many parents and teens find written agreements help set and enforce clear rules about night driving, passengers, access to the car and more. AAA offers a parent-teen driving agreement on its teen driver safety website, TeenDriving.AAA.com. The comprehensive website offers a variety of additional tools and resources for parents and teens as they progress through the learning-to-drive process.