100 deadliest days for teen drivers: What parents need to know

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Over 7,000 people were killed in teen-related accidents between Memorial Day and Labor Day during the past decade, according to AAA.

AAA refers to the period as the 100 Deadliest Days and says drivers age 16 to 17 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those 18 and over.

“There are more daily deaths in crashes involving teen drivers during the summer months than the rest of the year because teens tend to have more unstructured time behind the wheel,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research Jake Nelson said in a release announcing the association’s annual summer safety campaign.

“So what can be done? We can encourage teens to double down on staying focused when driving, buckling up for every ride, and driving within posted speed limits.”

AAA said that studies show that distraction’s like smartphone use and talking to other passengers is involved in three of five fatal teen crashes, 60% of teens who die in crashes aren’t buckled and that speeding is a factor in 30% of deadly incidents.

The organization provides several resources for parents on how to instruct teens in good driving habits including a “Teen Driver Safety” website and “Coaching Your New Driver” guide.

Several automakers offer features that can restrict a vehicle’s operation depending on who is in the car, including Chevrolet’s Teen Driver safety system, which includes a Buckle to Drive function that locks the transmission selector in park for 20 seconds unless they fasten their seatbelt. Chevrolet said research found that the delay is long enough to encourage most drivers to buckle up.

2020 was a particularly deadly year for drivers of all ages, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Over 38,000 people were killed in accidents in what was the worst year since 2007. The agency said risky behavior brought on by the coronavirus pandemic was largely to blame for a 7% increase in fatalities over 2019.