Beware “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers


COLUMBUS — This week marks the start of the 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers. This is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when the number of fatal crashes involving teen drivers historically rises. New national crash data reveals the main reasons behind these deadly summer teen crashes include speeding, drinking and driving and distraction.

In Ohio, data from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), suggests inexperience, speeding and distractions are main contributing factors in Ohio’s deadly summer teen driver crashes. Between 2013 and 2017, ODOT says 139 people, including 81 teens, died in crashes involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days.

“Crash data shows that teens are a vulnerable driver group with a higher probability of being involved in crashes,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “And while teens may make mistakes when first learning to drive, it is important to continue educating them about safety behind the wheel so they avoid the reckless behaviors that put themselves and others at risk on the road.”

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, making teen driver safety an issue that impacts all road users.

Crashes for teen drivers increase significantly during the summer because teens are out of school and driving more. Between 2013 and 2017, during the 100 Deadliest Days:

3,500 people died in crashes involving a teen driver, an average of 700 people each year.

The average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 15-18 was 17 percent higher per day compared to other days of the year.

Experience Matters:

Inexperience makes teens especially risky drivers, and often leads to deadly mistakes. In fact, driver inexperience is the number-one reason teens crash, according to the Center for Disease Control. House Bill 106, sponsored by Reps. Gary Scherer (R) and Michael Sheehy (D), would make Ohio’s roads safer by giving teen drivers more experience behind the wheel. The bill proposes two small but important adjustments to Ohio’s current licensing system:

Lengthening the Temporary Instruction Permit phase from 6 to 12 months.

Ensure newly licensed teen drivers are supervised while driving after 10 p.m., rather than midnight, for the first 6 months of licensure, with exemptions for work, school and religious activities.

AAA is leading the Ohio GDL (Graduated Driver Licensing) coalition in support of this bill. Other supporters include, Akron Children’s Hospital, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, Better Ohio Teen Drivers Inc., DRVN, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Nationwide Insurance, the National Safety Council, Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, Ohio Health, Ohio PTA, Safe Kids Ohio, State Auto Insurance, State Farm Insurance and other safety advocates.

Parental Involvement:

Parents play a vital role in keeping their teens safe. AAA encourages parents to:

Talk with teens early and often about abstaining from dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving.

Teach by example and minimize risky behavior when driving.

Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.

“Parents have plenty to be concerned about as their teen hits the road this summer,” said Jennifer Ryan, AAA director of State Relations. “Teens are making deadly mistakes on the road. Parents are the best line of defense to keep everyone safe behind the wheel.”

TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season. The online AAA StartSmart program also offers great resources for parents on how to become effective in-car coaches, as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges.

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Data reveals what’s behind deadly summer teen crashes

 

By Kimberly Schwind

Special to the Inquirer

 

 

Kimberly Schwind is a senior public relations manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club