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- Crashes with teen drivers spike in summer; 3,194 in ’17, with 29 people killed
- “Intextication” (distracted driving) increasing as significant factor
- Teens and their families urged to visit AAA locations Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to pledge to “just drive” and get safety reminder giveaways
May 30, 2019 – Over the past five years, nearly 3,500 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when the number of crash fatalities involving a teen driver historically rise. The average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 15 to 18 was 17 percent higher per day compared to other days of the year, according to AAA.
Over the past five years during the “100 Deadliest Days”, an average of almost 700 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers. In Oklahoma, 3,194 crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 19 occurred during the summer of 2017. Twelve teen drivers died and, in all, 29 people were killed, according to the Oklahoma Highway Traffic Safety Office.
“While teens may make mistakes when first learning to drive, it is important to continue educating them about safety behind the wheel so they avoid the reckless behaviors that put themselves and others at risk on the road,” said Mark Madeja, AAA Oklahoma spokesperson.
AAA Foundation research found that nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel. Crashes for teen drivers increase significantly during the summer because teens are out of school and driving more.
New crash data from 2013-2017 reveals major factors contributing to fatal teen crashes during the summer driving period include:
- Speeding (28 percent)
- Drinking and driving (17 percent)
- Distraction (9 percent)
Reckless behavior like drinking and driving, speeding and distraction are contributing to the alarming number of crash deaths involving teen drivers each summer.
Speeding significantly increases the severity of a crash and is a growing problem among teen drivers. In the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index, half (49.7 percent) of teen drivers reported speeding on a residential street in the past 30 days and nearly 40 percent say they sped on the freeway.
Drinking and Driving
Despite the fact that teens cannot legally consume alcohol, one in six teen drivers involved in fatal crashes during the summer tested positive for alcohol.
Distraction- Underreported Problem
More than half of teen drivers (52 percent) in the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index report reading a text message or email while driving in the past 30 days and nearly 40 percent report sending a text or email. Some 59 percent of all teen crashes involve some form of driver inattention, and 12 percent of teen crashes involve cell phone use.
Drivers of all ages are urged to take AAA’s Don’t Drive Intoxicated. Don’t Drive Intexticated. pledge at Tulsa-area AAA locations Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to reinforce their commitment to never use an electronic advice while driving – even hands-free which still results in significant cognitive distraction. All taking the pledge will receive token reminders to display in their vehicles.
“Parents have plenty to be concerned about as their teens hit the road this summer,” said Madeja. “They are the best line of defense to prevent deadly mistakes behind the wheel. Storing your phone out of reach, minding the speed limit, and staying away from impairing substances like alcohol and marijuana should be non-negotiable.”
To keep roads safer this summer, AAA encourages parents to:
- 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.
- Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season. The online AAA StartSmart program also offers great 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. Teens preparing for the responsibility of driving should enroll in a driver education program that teaches how to avoid driver distraction and other safety skills.