AAA: Summer Heightens Teen Driver Crash Risk

Seven of top 10 deadliest days for teens occur during summer months

Phoenix, Ariz., May 18, 2012. Summer is the deadliest time of year for teen drivers and passengers, with seven of the top 10 deadliest days of the year occurring between May and August. With deadly traffic crashes peaking for teens during the summer months, AAA Insurance urges parents to increase their focus on safety during the school-free months ahead.   

“During the summer, teens tend to drive more often and with less supervision than they do during the school year,” said Brad Oltmans, vice president of insurance services for AAA Arizona. “That’s why AAA urges parents to establish a driving agreement that keeps teens off the road at night and restricts riding in cars with multiple passengers. This agreement should be in place all year long, but especially during the high-risk summer months.”

According to AAA, an average of 399 teens died in traffic crashes during each of the summer months (May-August), compared to a monthly average of 346 teen deaths during non-summer months. 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.

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. 
  • 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 Insurance offers a parent-teen driving agreement on its teen driver safety website,Keys2Drive. The website also offers a variety of additional tools and resources for parents and teens as they progress through the learning-to-drive process.
  • Enroll teens in summer driving school. Summer offers the perfect opportunity for teens to brush up on their driving skills. AAA’s Approved Driving School Network is an exclusive group of schools that have met strict requirements for AAA approval, plus they offer a AAA member discount.
  • Use driver 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 up to 24 percent off your teen’s AAA auto insurance upon completion; Teaching Your Teens to Drive, which helps guide parents who choose to teach their teens to drive themselves; and Driver-ZED, which helps teens practice recognizing and avoiding road hazards.
  • 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.

Parents of teens who are approaching driving age should consider attending AAA’s Permit Prep 101. This free workshop prepares teens for their written permit test and educates families on what they need to know before their new driver takes the wheel.  

AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and auto travel services to more than 825,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides insurance, travel, auto repair, discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.