Summer heightens teen driver crash risk

By: Sara Humphrey Email
By: Sara Humphrey Email

OKLAHOMA - AAA said summer is the deadliest time of year for teen drivers and passengers.

Statistics show seven of the top ten deadliest days of the year occur between May and August.

According to AAA the the seven most dangerous days on the road for teens during summer are May 20, May 23, June 10, July 4, July 9, Aug. 8 and Aug. 14.

More than 16 teens are killed in car crashes on each of these days, on average.

AAA said teens tend to drive more often and with less supervision than they do during the school year.

They are urging parents to increase their focus on safety.

AAA said an average of almost 400 teens die in car wrecks during each of the summer months.

To keep teens safe during these dangerous months and year round, AAA Insurance suggests the following tips for parents:

• Eliminate trips without purpose. Teens have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, based on amount of miles driven, and a teen's crash risk is highest during the first year of solo driving. Limit teens' driving to essential trips and only with parental permission for at least the first year of driving.

• Limit passengers. Crash rates increase with each teen passenger in the vehicle. In fact, fatal crash rates for 16- to 19-year-olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers are present versus when teens drive alone. Also, riding in a vehicle with a teen driver can be risky for teen passengers. Establish passenger limits and restrict teens from riding as a passenger with a teen driver.

• Restrict night driving. A teen driver's chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles at night. Many parents limit driving during the highest-risk late night hours, yet they should consider limiting evening driving as well, as more than half of nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.

• Teach your teens how to drive. Summer offers the perfect opportunity for teens to learn how to drive. AAA offers a parent-taught driver's education kit called Take the Wheel that is inexpensive, totally complete, certified by the Oklahoma Dept. of Public Safety and qualifies teens for standard auto insurance Driver's Ed. discounts. And because it's certified by the state as bona fide Driver's Ed., teens can drive at an earlier age under Oklahoma's Graduated Driver Licensing law. Visit www.AAA.com/TakeTheWheel or any AAA office.

• Establish a parent-teen driving agreement. Written agreements help set and enforce clear rules about night driving, passengers, access to the car, and more. AAA offers a parent-teen driving agreement on its teen driver safety website, Keys2Drive. The website also provides a variety of additional tools and resources for parents and teens as they progress through the learning-to-drive process.

• Use driving training tools. Enhance your teen's driving, critical thinking and decision-making skills with driver training resources. AAA offers programs like teenSMART, which can earn a very good discount on your teen's AAA auto insurance upon completion.

• Be there. Make sure your teen knows that if they need help, advice or a ride, they can call you at any time. Extend this offer often and let your teen know that you are always available, and that they will not be judged or punished should they need your help.


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