Buckle your seat belts: the 100 “Deadliest Days” is underway. This is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when motorists are more likely to be injured or killed in fatal crashes involving a teen driver.
More than 1,000 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers in 2016, reports the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a 14% increase compared to the rest of the year and a figure that equates to 10 people per day.
To share the Foundation’s latest research and to focus on this issue, the two AAA Clubs in Connecticut — AAA Northeast and AAA Greater Hartford — gathered on May 30 in Hartford with Federal and State traffic safety advocates.
“The number of fatal crashes involving teen drivers during the summer is an important traffic safety concern for AAA,” said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “Research shows young drivers are at greater risk during this time, and have higher crash rates compared to older, more experienced drivers because of two factors: speeding and nighttime driving.”
Over the last five years in Connecticut, there have been 44 fatal crashes involving teen drivers, including 12 last summer during the 100 “Deadliest Days” period. At least half of the crashes occurred after 9 p.m., according to data obtained through UConn’s CT Crash Data Repository.
Although none of the victims in those 12 crashes was a teen driver, the driver’s passengers or someone in another vehicle were either injured or killed. “Statistics shows these crashes affect everyone on the road, not just teen drivers or their parents,” said Mayko. “Education, coupled with proper driver training and parental involvement, will help teen drivers become better, safer drivers on our roadways.”
- 36% of all motor teen driver vehicle fatalities occurred between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.;
- There was a 22% increase in the average number of nighttime crashes per day involving teen drivers between May and September compared to the rest of the year;
- 29% of all motor vehicle deaths involving a teen driver were speed-related;
- 1 in 10 nighttime crash fatalities and 1 in 10 speed-related fatalities involved a teen driver.
AAA urges parents to discuss the higher risks teens face during the summer. They should also familiarize themselves with CT’s life-saving Graduated Drivers Licensing (GDL) laws and become actively involved in the learn-to-drive process involving their inexperienced teen.
To prepare for the summer drive season, AAA also encourages parents to:
- Discuss early and often the dangers of risky driving situations with their teens;
- Teach by example and minimize their own risky behavior when behind the wheel;
- Make and enforce a parent-teen driving agreement that sets driving limits based on the state’s GDL.
- Visit TeenDriving.AAA.com that offers tools such as interactive widgets, highlighting teen driving risks and state licensing information. An online AAA StartSmart program also offers parental resources on how to become effective in-car coaches and ways to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded research and educational organization, whose mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes. It also educates the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. For more information, visit AAAFoundation.org.