Don’t Take a Summer Break from Teen Driver Safety

Parents should enforce rules, practice driving with teens

Phoenix. May 31, 2013. Summer vacation means less time in the classroom and more time for teens behind the wheel.

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teen drivers. In fact, from 2007 to 2011, 154 teens were killed on Arizona roadways. According to AAA, May through August is historically the most dangerous months on the road for teen drivers.

“Teens drive more often with less supervision during the summer than during the school year. This increases the risk of becoming involved in a crash,” said Brad Oltmans, vice president of insurance services for AAA Arizona. “As a leader in driver safety, AAA urges parents to establish rules and continue training their teen drivers. This should take place all year long, but especially during the high-risk summer months.”

AAA Insurance suggests the following tips for parents to keep teens safe during the summer and throughout the year:

  • Eliminate trips without purpose. Teens have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers based on number of miles driven. Their 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. Fatal crash rates for 16- to 19-year-olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers are present. Riding in a vehicle with a teen driver also 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 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 is 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 driving training tools. Enhance your teen’s driving, critical thinking and decision-making skills with driver training. AAA offers programs such as 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. 

For more information on AAA’s resources for parents and teens, visit: az.aaa.com/news/traffic-safety/teendriver.

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.