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School’s out for summer, and teens are on the road. According to AAA, the automobile research and educational group, this marks the start of the 100 deadliest days of summer driving for teens.
According to AAA’s study, about 1,000 people die in crashes involving teenage drivers in the 100 days from Memorial Day until kids are back in school. For those aged 16 to 19, crashes increase significantly during the summer months. In fact, the increase of teen driving accidents pushes the average number of deaths up by 16 percent compared to other times of the year.
It’s no surprise that distraction plays a big role in this spike in teen crashes.
But while parents understand the risks of texting and driving — talking or texting on cellphones contributes to 58.5 percent of crashes during these 100 days, according to AAA — many aren’t aware of the dangers new teen drivers face when hitting the road with a car full of friends. According to a 2014 study by the North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, teens are six times more likely to make an evasive maneuver to avoid a crash when loud conversations are happening in their cars.
In fact, The National Safety Council reports that just having passengers in the car increases the risk of a teen having a fatal crash by 44 percent! To combat this, 43 states currently restrict newly licensed drivers from having more than one passenger in their vehicle.
Some parents have taken this a step further by saying no to passengers in the car at all during their teens’ first year of driving. While your teen may object to a “no friends in the car” rule at first, having that conversation and setting those boundaries may just save their life.