Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel, according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research.
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.
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)
“Crash data shows that teens are a vulnerable driver group with a higher probability of being involved in crashes,” said Dr. David Yang, Executive Director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “And 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.”
Crashes involving teen drivers increase significantly during the summer because teens are out of school and driving more. Over the past five years during the “100 Deadliest Days”:
- An average of almost 700 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers
- The average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 15-18 was 17 percent higher per day compared to other days of the year
- Reckless behavior like drinking and driving, speeding and distraction are contributing to the alarming number of crash deaths involving teen drivers each summer
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. It is difficult for law enforcement to detect distraction following a crash, which has made distracted driving one of the most underreported traffic safety issues.
Additional AAA Foundation research using in-vehicle dash-cam videos of teen driver crashes found distraction was involved in 58 percent of teen crashes, approximately four times as many as federal estimates.
“Parents have plenty to be concerned about as their teen hits the road this summer,” said Jennifer Ryan, AAA Director of State Relations. “Teens are making deadly mistakes on the road. Parents are the best line of defense to keep everyone safe behind the wheel.”