A study released by AAA in May revealed that motor vehicle accidents involving teenage drivers increase by 15-17% between Memorial Day and Labor Day — a period of time that the study dubs the “100 Deadliest Days.” Crash data from 2013-2017 showed a consistent spike in accidents during the summer months. Researchers found that more than 700 people died in crashes involving teen drivers between Memorial Day and Labor Day over the study’s five-year span.
It is reasonable to expect inexperienced drivers to make mistakes, but why are so many teens involved in severe or fatal crashes? The study by the AAA Foundation found three leading causes:
Exceeding the speed limit often leads to more severe accidents, and roughly half of teens reported speeding on residential streets as well as the freeway. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speeding has been a factor in nearly one-third of fatal car crashes for the last two decades.
One in every six teenage drivers involved in deadly accidents during summer months tested positive for alcohol. Even though teens cannot legally drink, it is essential to talk to young drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving.
Distracted driving only accounted for 9% of fatal crashes in the AAA Foundation’s Traffic Safety Culture Index report. However, additional research by the Foundation indicated that more than half of teen drivers admitted to reading text messages or emails while driving. Distracted driving has become more prevalent over the last several years, with severe consequences. When traveling at 55mph, a driver travels the length of a football field in the 5 seconds they might take to answer a text.
We can only hope that this summer breaks the “100 Deadliest Days” trend. By talking to the new drivers in their family about risky driving behaviors, parents can help their teens avoid a crash. Drivers involved in a crash this summer may want to consult with an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney who can help them achieve the recovery they deserve.