Parents, Beware: Teens Entering Into 100 Deadliest Days Of Teen Driving

Memorial Day begins what is known as the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. From 2010 to 2014, more than 5,000 people have died within those 100 days from crashes involving teen drivers, the AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety reports.

A new study by the foundation shows that nearly 60 percent of teen crashes involve a distracted driver. The average number of crashes involving drivers between 16 and 19 increases by 16 percent during the 100 deadliest days, compared to other days in the year. Statically, teens drive more during the summer for recreational purposes than any other time of the year.

According to the National Safety Council, teens travel more unfamiliar roads during the 100 deadliest days versus driving back and forth to school and in familiar areas near home. However, the biggest reason for the summer risk is the increase in teen driving accompanied by other minors.

John Ulczycki, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the National Safety Council, told Fox 43, “We have always known that passengers were a big risk for teens, but what we’re really finding out now is, passengers may be one of the most important risks for teens, even more so than things like texting.”

Passengers are a distraction to driving — especially teen driving. However, passengers are long-term distractions for teens versus the seconds or minutes it takes to look and respond to a text message. Teen passengers increase the risk of teen related crashes by at least 44 percent during the 100 deadliest days, says the National Safety Council.

Most states have laws regarding the number of passengers allowed for new drivers. Some states restrict passengers from riding with new drivers up to a year after receiving a new license. A 2014 study revealed that loud conversation and horseplay between passengers were more dangerous than technology and more likely to result in an accident.

“Forty-three states restrict newly licensed drivers from having more than one young passenger in their vehicle,” Robert Foss, senior research scientist at the Highway Safety Research Center, and director of the Center for the Study of Young Drivers, said in a news release. “The results of this study illustrate the importance of such restrictions, which increase the safety of drivers, their passengers and others on the road by reducing the potential chaos that novice driver’s experience.”

The University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center tracked 52 high school age drivers in North Carolina via dashboard cameras installed in their vehicles. The study revealed that loud conversation in the car between the teen and his or her passengers resulted in more evasive maneuvers to avoid car crashes.

According to USA Today, the University of Iowa did an analysis of teen related crashes viewing footage from minor-to-severe crashes. The footage revealed that six seconds before impact, 15 percent of teens were talking to others in the car, 12 percent were engaged with their phone, and 11 percent were looking or attending to something else inside the vehicle.

Based on current studies, the AAA believes that official government statistics derived from police reports are underestimated. The official statistics indicate distracted driving accounts for 14 percent of all crashes while a teen is driving during the 100 deadliest days. AAA’s research concluded that 59 percent of moderate-to-severe teen crashes were the result of distracted driving during the 100 deadliest days.

Jurek Grabowski, research director at the AAA Foundation, said the following.

“Every day during the summer driving season, an average of 10 people die as a result of injuries from a crash involving a teen driver. This new research shows that distraction continues to be one of the leading causes of crashes for teen drivers. By better understanding how teens are distracted on the road, we can better prevent deaths throughout the 100 Deadliest Days and the rest of the year.”

AAA director of state relations Jennifer Ryan added the following.

“Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in crashes involving a teen driver are people other than the teen themselves. This shows that teen drivers can be a risk to everyone on the road and it is important to regulate their actions when behind the wheel.”

[Photo by Marc Serota/AP Images]

Share this article: Parents, Beware: Teens Entering Into 100 Deadliest Days Of Teen Driving
More from Inquisitr