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Crashes involving teen drivers spike in summer: study

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Photo: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

Washington – Inexperienced teen drivers hit the road in greater numbers during the summer months, raising their likelihood of being involved in a deadly car crash, according to research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

For the study, published July 1, researchers looked at crash, injury and death rates per mile for all motorists from 2014-15 – the most recent data available. They found that 16- to 17-year-old drivers are nine times more likely to be involved in a crash than adults, and six times as likely to be in a fatal wreck.

Previous research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that the number of fatal crashes involving teen drivers rises 15 percent between Memorial Day and Labor Day – called the “100 Deadliest Days” by the organization – compared with the rest of the year.

Sixty percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were not wearing seat belts and nearly 30 percent were speeding. Distracted driving was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 crashes.

AAA recommends:

  • Talking with young drivers “early and often” about speeding and distractions.
  • Leading by example and cutting down on risky behaviors when driving.
  • Using a written agreement to set rules for new drivers.

“Parents are the frontline of defense for keeping our roads safer this summer,” Jennifer Ryan, AAA Director of State Relations, said in the release. “It all starts with educating teens about safety on the road and modeling good behavior, like staying off the phone and buckling your safety belt.”

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