Over the past five years, nearly 3,500 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when the number of crash fatalities involving a teen driver historically rise. Crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reveals major factors contributing to fatal teen crashes during the summer driving period include:

  • Speed: 32% of fatal car crashes with a teen driver cited speeding as a causative factor.
  • Distracted Driving: 10% of accidents with teen drivers that resulted in a fatality involved distracted driving. Distracted driving significantly increases the risk of crashing. Among teens:
  • 6 times more likely to crash when dialing a phone and driving
  • 23 times more likely to crash when texting and driving
  • Teen Passengers: Teen drivers with a teen passenger are 2.5 times more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors than when driving alone. Teen drivers with multiple teen passengers are 3 times more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors. The risk of a crash with fatality increases for teen drivers as the number of teen passengers increases.
  • Seat Belts: Approximately 47% of teen drivers who were killed in car crashes were not wearing their seat belt when they crashed. Teen drivers are the least likely to wear seatbelts. 58% of teen passengers killed in crashes in 2016 were not wearing their seatbelts when the crash occurred.
  • Alcohol and Drugs: 451 teen drivers were killed in crashes had alcohol in their systems. 82% of those drivers had a BAC of .08 or higher. The CDC reports that when a crash involves alcohol, teens are more likely to be killed than any other age group. Nearly 1 in 5 teen drivers involved in crashes that resulted in fatalities in 2016, had been drinking.
  • Drowsy Driving: In 2016, teen drivers between the ages of 15 and 18 accounted for nearly 1 in 10 fatal crashes attributed to drowsy driving.
  • Time – 3 pm to Midnight: 48% of fatal crashes where a teen was killed occurred during this time frame (CDC, 2015).
  • Day – Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 52% of fatal crashes where a teen was killed occurred on these days (CDC, 2015).

“Teens think they are made out of rubber. They can bounce off anything. Cars are not made out of rubber and nor are our kids. Teaching them responsible driving habits starts with me as their Dad. I want them safe 24x7”, said AJ Handscomb, Director of Vehicle EXCHANGE Program & Community Outreach. “If it means I have to use technology to limit the driver’s speed limit and geographical area my teen can drive to, I will use it. I want my daughter to come home safe every day. Her life is not worth the risk.”

National statistics from the CDC also provides a look into which groups are at a higher risk:

  • Age 16-19 – Male – Drivers and Passengers: This group had the highest number of car crashes. Drivers who are between 16 and 20 years of age are almost three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers who are older than 20 – per mile driven.
  • Teenage Drivers with Teenage Passengers: The risk of a crash increases when there is a teen passenger in a vehicle where the teen driver is unsupervised. With each passenger, that risk increases even more.
  • Teenage Drivers who are Newly Licensed: Teen drivers are at a significantly higher risk of a crash with fatality during the first month of becoming licensed. Per mile driven, the rate for fatal crashes is almost double for 16 to 17-year-old drivers than for 18 to 19-year-old drivers.

An average of almost 700 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers.

The average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 15-18 was 17 percent higher per day compared to other days of the year.

“Life is too short and smart driving with knowledge makes all the difference with our teens on the roads today. Education means I will see my son tomorrow. When I get behind the wheel, my kids watch what I do. I am aware that my behaviors impact their lives when they go to drive the car without me. It starts with me as the example first”, said Handscomb.

To keep roads safer this summer, University Mazda Kia encourages parents to:

  • Talk with teens early and often about abstaining from dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving.
  • Teach by example and minimize risky behavior when driving.
  • Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.

“The era of advanced AI today in our Kia & Mazda vehicles helps drivers dramatically in difficult driving conditions. And we are thankful for that. Education is one of the most important factors in saving drivers and passenger lives. The more informed a driver is surrounding vehicle control, reduced speeds, distracted driving, use of seat belts and zero alcohol & drug usage makes all the difference. We want our customers safe at every day. Their lives matter”, said Handscomb.

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