New AAA data examines fatal teen crash rates during the summer from 2008 to 2018
By AAA of Western and Central New York
In New York state, 222 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the “100 Deadliest Days” from 2008 to 2018. The “100 Deadliest Days” is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when fatal teen crashes increase dramatically. The number of people killed in crashes involving teen drivers, in New York, during rest of the year is 382 (for a total of 604 from 2008 to 2018). 222 people killed in summer months compared to 382 killed during non-summer months, over the 10 years, is an increase of more than 70%. Moreover, 222 people killed in the summertime equates to a yearly average of 20.2 deaths.
Nationwide, more than 8,300 people died in crashes involving teen drivers during the “100 Deadliest Days” over the 10-year span. That’s more than seven people a day each summer. This year’s 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. AAA recommends parents model safe driving behaviors and help ensure their teens practice them, too.
“The last decade of crash data 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%)
•Red-light running (32%)
•Aggressive driving (31%)
•Drowsy driving (25%)
•Driving without a seatbelt (17%)
“Parents remain the best line of defense to keep everyone safe behind the wheel,” said Jennifer Ryan, AAA’s director of state relations. “It’s never too soon to educate teens on the dangers of distracted driving, speeding, and the impairing effects of alcohol and marijuana. But actions speak louder than words. Remember to model good behavior, because your teen won’t take your advice seriously if you don’t follow it yourself.”
To keep roads safe 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.
√ 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.
√ To support parents in conducting practice driving sessions during COVID-19 and beyond, AAA is providing a free four-page guide to help parents coach their teens on how to drive safely. The “Coaching Your New Driver – An In-Car Guide for Parents” AAA Parent Coaching Guide 2020 offers behind-the-wheel lesson plans, including a variety of “DOs and DON’Ts” to make the learning experience as helpful as possible. For parents, the guide can be beneficial as they coach their teens on a variety of routes, building on their formal behind-the-wheel training.
√ TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season. The online AAA Start Smart parent session also 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. 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.
√ AAA “License To Learn” classes remain on hold temporarily, but students can take the LTL online portion at home – simply call AAA to register in advance at 800-836-2582, option 2. Now is a great time for students to get the online classwork completed! This online driver education program is designed for educational benefit to young drivers, so insurance discounts are not applicable, and the five-hour course must still be completed in the future. AAA Western and Central New York will resume in-car and classroom instruction as soon as New York state allows, with social distancing guidelines in place.
About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by researching their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.
As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 887,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.