Teen Drivers At Higher Risk Of Fatality During The 100 Deadliest Days Of Summer

Distracted Driver

Teen Drivers At Higher Risk Of Fatality During The 100 Deadliest Days Of Summer

At O’Rielly Collision Centers in Tucson AZ, we love to teach car owners how to save money on their auto body repair, how to choose the right repairs for their car and generally how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe. One topic that hits home for me is always teen driver information. The reason is as a parent myself, I know how hard it can be to keep your kids safe at all times. Teen drivers as novice drivers are already at a disadvantage when it comes to driver experience. Combine this lack of experience wit mobile distractions and teenagers’ natural daredevil tendencies and you have a recipe for disaster.

As we head into the summer months, crashes for teen drivers increase significantly because teens drive more during this time of year. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety just released a study confirming that nearly 60% of teen crashes involve distractions behind the wheel. The research also finds a disturbing trend showing that texting and social media use are on the rise amongst teen drivers.

Called the 100 deadliest days, the 100 days of summer are the deadliest on the roads for Teen drivers. An average of 10 people every single day die from injuries sustained from a crash involving a teen driver during the summer months. New research also 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 as well as the rest of the year.

To gather their data, the AAA Foundation analyzed the moments leading up to a crash in more than 2,200 videos captured from in-car dash cameras and compared this footage to crash videos captured from 2007 -2012.

Surprisingly, the No. 1 distraction for teens is not related to their cell phone use. The AAA Foundation study found the following to be the top three distractions for teens when behind the wheel in the moments leading up to a crash:

– Talking or attending to other passengers in the vehicle (15% of crashes).

– Talking, texting or operating a cell phone (12% of crashes).

– Attending to or looking at something inside the vehicle: (11% of crashes).

Video footage collected by the AAA Foundation between 2007 and 2015 found that an average of 59% of crashes contained some type of potentially distracting behavior during the six seconds leading up to a crash.

This Data from the AAA is in contradiction to the latest government statistics that showed that in 2014, 10% of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported to have been distracted at the time of the crash. Proportionally, this is more than any other age group. The AAA Foundation believes that the government statistics substantially underestimate the prevalence of driver distraction. Data suggests that the true proportion of crashes that can be attributed to distraction and inattention is likely much higher.

Texting while driving

In the moments leading up to a crash, teens were more likely to be texting or looking down at the phone than talking on it.

Cellphones, texting and social media

Over the course of the study one phenomenon that researchers discovered was the way teens use their cellphone when behind the wheel changed significantly during the course of the study. In the moments leading up to a crash, teens were more likely to be texting or looking down at the phone than talking on it. This supports findings by the Pew Research Center, which shows text messaging has become a key component in day-to-day interactions amongst teenagers.

No Matter what age you are, texting creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted according Research by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Nearly % of teen drivers admitted they had read a text message or e-mail while driving in the past 30 days. NHTSA’s National Occupant Protection Use Survey also shows that from 2007 to 2014, the percentage of young drivers seen visibly manipulating a hand-held device quadrupled.

Rear End Crashes On The Rise

Statistics from Various Insurance groups show that from 2007 to 2015, there was a significant increase in the proportion of teen driver crashes in this study that were rear-end collisions. Rear-end crashes most often involve a driver who is following too closely and/or responding too slowly due to inattention or distraction.

While it’s possible that teens have started following more closely, it seems more likely that distraction has led to an increase in eyes off road time, slower reaction times and therefore, an increase in the proportion of crashes that are rear-end crashes.

A in-depth examination of rear-end crashes showed there was a significant increase in the proportion of crashes in which the driver was operating/looking at a cellphone, from 15.3% in 2008 to 27.9% in 2014.

Deaths linked to teen drivers

It is not just teenagers who die in the crashes. Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in crashes involving a teen driver are people other than the teen themselves.

Over the past five years during the summer 100 Deadliest Days:

– An average of 1,022 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers.
– The average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 16-19 increased by 16% per day compared to other days of the year.

Educational resources for parents and teens

The website TeenDriving.AAA.com offers a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season. A few tips include:

– Don’t ride with teen drivers or transport other teens while a new driver. One of the most dangerous sources of distraction for teen drivers, whether due to horseplay, loud music, rowdy behavior or peer pressure, is teen passengers.

– Minimize various potential distractions, such as eating, drinking, chatting with a passenger, reading a map, personal grooming, reaching for things in the car or looking at people or objects unrelated to the driving task.

– Don’t allow a cell phone to be used in the vehicle by you or your teen.

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