PORTLAND, Ore., – AAA finds that the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are when the number of crash fatalities involving teen drivers rise.
In Oregon, 75 people died in crashes involving teen drivers during the “100 deadliest days” in the 10 years from 2011 through 2020. This averages to eight people dying each summer, compared to an average of 17 deaths in crashes involving teen drivers during the rest of the year in Oregon. Almost a third (31%) of all fatal crashes involving teen drivers in Oregon occur during the “100 Deadliest Days.”
Nationwide, 7,124 people died in crashes involving teen drivers during this 10-year period. That’s seven people per day during these 100 days. The total is nearly half of the total number of those killed in teen-driver crashes for the entire rest of the year. And in 2020 alone, 850 people were killed in these types of crashes, up from 716 the previous year – nearly a 20% increase.
Find data here.
For 2020, Oregon ranks 26th in the country for most per-capita crash fatalities involving teen drivers with nearly nine deaths in crashes involving teen drivers per one million population. Find the complete list here.
Mississippi has the highest per-capita deaths in crashes involving teen drivers with 19 deaths. New York has the lowest with two deaths in 2020.
“Teen drivers are at a higher risk of crashes, in part due to their inexperience behind the wheel. During the summer months, teens often drive unsupervised without an adult in the car, as they drive to jobs, meet friends, and travel to summer destinations,” says Marie Dodds, public affairs director for AAA Oregon/Idaho.
According to the latest AAA Foundation Traffic Safety Culture Index, teen drivers aged 16-18 admitted to having engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors in the past 30 days:
- Driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street (45%)
- Driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway (41%)
- Speeding through a red light (26%)
- Aggressive driving (29%)
- Driving while being so tired they had a hard time keeping their eyes open (22%)
- Driving without wearing a seatbelt (13%)
- Drinking enough alcohol that they may be over the legal limit (4%)
- Ridden in a car driven by someone who’s had too much alcohol (7%)
- Driving within an hour after using marijuana (7%)
- Holding and talking on a cell phone (47%)
- Reading a text or email on a cell phone (46%)
- Manually texting (30%)
AAA has advice for parents:
Studies show that teen drivers become safer behind the wheel if they receive instruction by a trained professional and receive ongoing support and coaching from their parents. Visit AAA Exchange – Teen Driver Safety.
- Talk with teens early and often about safe driving behaviors including wearing seatbelts, staying focused and complying with speed limits.
- Talk with teens about dangerous behaviors behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving.
- Have your teen complete a comprehensive driver education course.
- Teach by example and minimize risky behavior when driving.
- Establish a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.
- Conduct at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving with their teen.
AAA’s tips for parents coaching their teen drivers:
- Share your driving wisdom and experience!
- Stay calm when your teen says, “Don’t yell at me!”
- Drive in different conditions (weather, lighting, road types)
- Aim for smoothness—pretend there’s a cup of water on the dash and you don’t want to spill a drop.
- Take breaks every half hour or so and discuss progress.
- Don’t drive the same route; take different routes each time you drive with your teen.
- Don’t view your teen as your chauffer—they need your eyes, attention, and coaching.
- Don’t focus too much on basic maneuvers (turning, etc.)—your teen will pick those up quickly.
- Don’t say too much but offer immediate feedback when appropriate. Debrief fully after the session.
“Parents hold the key to teaching their teens to be safe drivers. Your teens may roll their eyes but they do want to learn from you about how to be a safe driver. Teach them about the dangers of speeding, not wearing seatbelts, and impaired and distracted driving. You also need to set a good example—your teens won’t take you seriously if you engage in unsafe driving behaviors,” says Dodds.
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