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Summer deadly time for drivers, especially teens

Updated: Jun. 8, 2021 at 11:15 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - According to AAA, the Lone Star State leads the country with the highest number of summertime crash deaths involving teen drivers.

The 100 Deadliest Days are now underway, which is the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Around the United States, more than 7,000 people died in teen-driving related crashes during the summer months between 2010 and 2019, according to AAA.

Now that school is out for many students, and more people are likely on the roads, Texas DPS Sgt. Ryan Howard said there are several factors that can cause crashes when teens are behind the wheel.

One of the main concerns is distracted driving. According to AAA, distracted driving plays a role in nearly 60 percent of crashes involving teen drivers. Sgt. Howard said for inexperienced teens, those distractions can vary.

“Those distractions can be anything ranging from talking to the passenger that you have in the car, talking to family members that you have in the car, trying to look at your cell phone, playing on your radio, and just looking out the window,” Sgt. Howard said.

“The main thing you want to do as a teen driver just starting out is just focus 100 percent on the road.”

Distracted driving isn’t the only factor in crashes with teens behind the wheel. Sgt. Howard said speed and following too closely can also be factors in crashes. He said keeping that distance from vehicles is important because you never know the experience level of another driver, or what they’ll do.

“You’re supposed to use your turn signal, but many people don’t, for some reason,” Sgt. Howard said. “As a new driver, you might think a person is continuing to go forward, but then they make a sudden turn, and if you’re too close to them, then you can actually run into the back of them.”

According to AAA, speed plays a factor in about 30 percent of crashes involving teen drivers.

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