As the summer driving season unofficially begins, officials with AAA New York are cautioning parents as well as teenagers that distracted driving can be deadly as the “100 Deadliest Days” begin.
Over the past five years, more than 5,000 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during what AAA has dubbed the “100 Deadliest Days,” the period starting at Memorial Day when teen deaths rise.
A follow-up study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly 60 percent of those teen crashes involve distractions for the driver. AAA noted that the research also showed a “disturbing” trend regarding the rise texting and social media use amongst teen drivers.
According to AAA, over the past five years, during the “100 Deadliest Days,” an average of 1,0222 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers and the average number of death from crashes involving teen drivers increased by 16 percent per day, compared to other days of the year.
Researchers from the AAA Foundation analyzed nearly 2,500 videos that were captured from in-car dash cameras for their follow-up study. It was determined that there were consistent trends for teens behind the wheel in the moments leading up to the crash, including talking to other passengers in the vehicle (15 percent of crashes), using a cell phone (12 percent) and attending or looking for something inside the vehicle (11 percent).
“Every day during the summer driving season, an average of 10 people die as a result of injuries from a crash involving a teen driver” Jurek Grabowski, Research Director for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety stated. “This new research shows that distraction continues to be one of the leading causes of crashes for teen drivers. By better understanding how teens are distracted on the road, we can better prevent deaths throughout the 100 Deadliest Days and the rest of the year.”
“It’s no secret that teens are extremely connected to their cell phones,” AAA Director of State Relations Jennifer Ryan added. “Many teens are texting or using social media behind the wheel more often than in the past, which is making an unsafe situation even worse.”