NYS Police share advice, AAA examines 10 years of data
By AAA of Western and Central New York
The “100 Deadliest Days” is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when fatal teen crashes increase dramatically. Nationwide, 7,124 people died in teen driver-related summertime crashes over a 10-year period from 2011-20. That’s more than seven people a day each summer, and that is nearly half of the total number of those killed in teen-driver crashes for the entire rest of the year. And in 2020 alone, 850 people were killed in these types of crashes, up from 716 the previous year – nearly a 20% increase.
In New York state, 183 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the “100 Deadliest Days” over the 10-year span from 2011-20. 183 people killed during summer months over the 10-year span equates to a summertime average of 18 deaths. It’s a dramatic increase from 298 people killed over the course of nine non-summer months over the 10-year period.
AAA teamed up with the New York State Police to raise awareness of traffic safety as Memorial Day kicked off the “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers.
Trooper Mark O’Donnell, public information officer for Troop E, pointed out the dangers of summer.
“Young drivers in high school and college look forward to the summer season and await newfound freedom with a break from school,” he explained. “The state police urge parents to talk to their young drivers about traffic safety and serve as good role models as well.”
“Young drivers have grown up with a phone in their hand. Now is the time to separate that phone use from driving – mobile devices have no place behind the wheel,” said Mike Formanowicz, driver training manager at AAA Western and Central New York. “We encourage all motorists to drive distraction free.”
Due to their inexperience, teen drivers are at a higher risk of crashes. According to the latest AAA Foundation for 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%)
√ Texting (35%)
√ Red-light running (32%)
√ Aggressive driving (31%)
√ Drowsy driving (25%)
√ Driving without a seatbelt (17%)
AAA driving instructors urge teen drivers to store phones out of reach, obey speed limits, and stay away from impairing substances such as alcohol and marijuana. AAA encourages parents to:
√ Talk with teens early and often about avoiding dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment, and distracted driving. Serve as a role model for safe behavior.
√ Teach by example, minimize risky behavior; conduct at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving with their teen.
√ Make a parent-teen driving agreement setting family rules for driving.
AAA recommends enrolling teens in a driver education program that teaches safety skills, distracted driving avoidance. AAA has in-person lessons and online tools for parents and teens, including TeenDriving.AAA.com and the StartSmart program.
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 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.