Keep Our Teens Safe
Over the past five years, nearly 3,500 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when the number of crash fatalities involving a teen driver historically rise.
Major Factors Contributing to Fatal Teen Crashes in the Summer
According to new crash data from 2013-2017, there are three primary factors contributing to fatal teen crashes during the summer driving period:
- Speeding: 28%
- Drinking and driving: 17%
- Distraction: 9%
AAA Foundation research found that nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel. Crashes for teen drivers increase significantly during the summer because teens are out of school and driving more.
Over the past five years during the “100 Deadliest Days”:
- An average of almost 700 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers.
- The average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 15-18 was 17% higher per day compared to other days of the year.
Reckless behavior like drinking and driving, speeding and distraction are contributing to the alarming number of crash deaths involving teen drivers each summer.
Speeding significantly increases the severity of a crash and is a growing problem among teen drivers. In the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index, 50% of teen drivers reported speeding on a residential street in the past 30 days and nearly 40% say they sped on the freeway.
Speeding endangers everyone on the road
In 2017, speeding killed 9,717 people, accounting for 26% of all traffic fatalities that year.
We all know the frustrations of modern life and juggling a busy schedule, but speed limits are put in place to protect all road users.
- 49%: speeding drivers in fatal crashes in 2017 who were not wearing seat belts
- 31%: Men 15-20 years old who were driving, speeding and involved in fatal crashes
- 37%: speeding drivers who were drunk and involved in deadly crashes
Consequences of Speeding
Speeding is more than just breaking the law. The consequences are far-ranging:
- Greater potential for loss of vehicle control
- Reduced effectiveness of occupant protection equipment
- Increased stopping distance after the driver perceives a danger
- Increased degree of crash severity leading to more severe injuries
- Economic implications of a speed-related crash
- Increased fuel consumption/cost
Despite the fact that teens cannot legally consume alcohol, one in six teen drivers involved in fatal crashes during the summer tested positive for alcohol. Make sure you are talking with your teens about the dangers of drinking and driving.
One of the safest choices drivers and passengers can make is to buckle up. Many Americans understand the lifesaving value of the seat belt – the national use rate was at 89.6% in 2018. Seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017.
Of the 37,133 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, 47% were not wearing seat belts.
- Buckling up helps keep you safe and secure inside your vehicle, whereas not buckling up can result in being totally ejected from the vehicle in a crash, which is almost always deadly.
- Air bags are not enough to protect you; in fact, the force of an air bag can seriously injure or even kill you if you’re not buckled up.
- Improperly wearing a seat belt, such as putting the strap below your arm, puts you and your children at risk in a crash.
The benefits of buckling up are clear
- If you buckle up in the front seat of a passenger car, you can reduce your risk of:
- Fatal injury by 45% (Kahane, 2015)
- Moderate to critical injury by 50%
- If you buckle up in a light truck, you can reduce your risk of:
- Fatal injury by 60% (Kahane, 2015)
- Moderate to critical injury by 65% (NHTSA, 1984)
Seat Belts Save Lives
- 89.6%: seat belt use rate in 2018
- 14,955: lives saved by seat belts in 2017
- 2,549: additional lives that seat belts could have saved in 2017 if everyone had buckled up
Texting and Driving
More than half of teen drivers (52%) in the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index report reading a text message or email while driving in the past 30 days, and nearly 40% report sending a text or email. It is difficult for law enforcement to detect distraction following a crash, which has made distracted driving one of the most underreported traffic safety issues.
Additional AAA Foundation research using in-vehicle dash-cam videos of teen driver crashes found distraction was involved in 58% of teen crashes, approximately four times as many as federal estimates.
Practice Safety on Every Trip
“Teens should also prepare for summer driving by practicing safety during every trip,” said Dr. Bill Van Tassel, AAA Manager of Driver Training Programs. “Storing your phone out of reach, minding the speed limit, and staying away from impairing substances like alcohol and marijuana will help prevent many crashes from ever occurring.”
During the summer months, bikers and pedestrians are everywhere.
- When passing bicycles, slow down and leave at least 3 feet of space between your vehicle and the bike.
- Bicyclists and pedestrians are most likely to be hit in crosswalks and on driveways. Remember to look for them on sidewalks, crosswalks, and driveways every time you are in your car and crossing those areas.
A 16 or 17- year-old driver’s risk of being killed in a crash:
- Quadruples when 3 or more passengers younger than 21 are in the vehicle
- Doubles when 2 passengers younger than 21 are in the vehicle
- Increases 44% when 1 passenger younger than 21 is in the vehicle
- Decreases 62% when an adult age 35+ is in the vehicle
Minnesota’s driver licensing rules allow:
- No more than one non-family teen passenger under the age of 20 for the first 6 months of driving
- No more than three non-family teen passengers under 20 for the second 6 months.
Even though legally a teen can have more than one family member in the car, that doesn’t mean they are not distracted by family just as much as they are by friends.