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| Shapiro, Appleton & Washburn

teen_driverLabor Day weekend marks the end of the summer and a return to school. According to AAA, Labor Day also marks the end of the “100 deadliest days” for teen drivers. Statistics show that the 100 days between Memorial Day in May and Labor Day put teenagers at the highest-risk of being involved in a fatal car crash. In fact, the risk spikes to more than 15 percent, compared to any other time during the rest of the year. AAA says that in the past five years, there have been more than 1,600 people killed during these 100 days in crashes which involved a teen driver.

Teen Crash Statistics

In the latest study published by AAA, Rates of Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries, and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age, crash rates per mile driven for all drivers were analyzed. The findings were alarming for drivers who were 16 to 17 years of age:

  • These drivers were nine times as likely as drivers 18 years or older to be involved in a crash;
  • These drivers were six times as likely as drivers 18 years or older to be involved in a fatal crash;
  • These drivers were five times as likely as drivers between 30 to 25 years of age to be involved in a crash; and
  • These drivers were twice as likely as drivers between the ages of 30 to 59 years of age to be involved in a fatal crash.

These statistics come as the numbers of fatal crashes involving teen drivers continue to rise. Last year, the total number of fatal crashes increased by 10 percent over the previous year.

Causes of Teen Crashes

Safety advocates find that there are common causes of fatal teen crashes. These include:

  • Distracted driving: The cause of six out of every 10 fatal teen crash is distracted driving. Distractions not only involve using a smartphone while driving but also talking to passengers in the vehicle.
  • Speeding: In almost 30 percent of all fatal teen crashes, the teen driver was speeding.
  • Failure to Wear Seat Belts: In one year, 60 percent of teen drivers killed in crashes were not wearing their seat belts. It has been proved time and time again that buckling up greatly reduces the risk of death in the event of a crash for all occupants of a vehicle.

Parents Need to Talk to Teens

If you have a teen who is driving, or soon will be, it is critical to talk to them about practicing safe driving at all times. Stress the importance of obeying the speed limit and all traffic rules, as well as the deadly dangers of engaging in distracted behaviors.

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