FLORHAM PARK, NJ - More than 1,050 people were killed in crashes involving a teen driver during the, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day in 2016. AAA reports that the average of 10 people per day is a 14 percent increase compared to the rest of the year.

As school lets out for the summer, AAA stresses the importance of preparing and educating inexperienced teen drivers for some of the most dangerous driving days of the year.

“The number of fatal crashes involving teen drivers during the summer is an important traffic safety concern and research shows that young drivers are at greater risk and have higher crash rates compared to older and more experienced drivers,” said Robert Sinclair, Manager of Media Relations for AAA Northeast. “Through education, proper training and involvement of parents, we can help our young drivers to become better and safer drivers, which in turn keeps the roads safer for everyone.”

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In New Jersey, teen driver (16-20 years of age) and teen passenger (teens driven by their peers) deaths have decreased to 17 and 2, respectively, at the end of last year. While the number of teen driver deaths in 2017 was not the lowest on record , teen passenger deaths fells to a new low, according to data from the New Jersey State Police.

According to the New Jersey Teen Safe Driving Coalition, since strengthening New Jersey’s Graduated Driver License (GDL) law, teen driver-involved fatal crashes have fallen nearly 50 percent from 85 in 2009 to 49 last year. This is significant not only because fewer teen drivers died, but also fewer people overall died. What many people don’t realize is that more than half of all people killed in teen driver-involved fatal crashes are not the teen drivers or their passengers, but other roadway users.

Nighttime Driving

  • 26 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involving teen drivers occurred between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • 1 in 10 motor vehicle nighttime crash fatalities involved a teen driver
  • Data shows a 22 percent increase in the average number of nighttime crashes per day involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days compared to the rest of the year

Speeding

  • 1 in 10 motor vehicle speed-related fatalities involved a teen driver
  • 29 percent of all motor vehicle deaths involving a teen driver were speed related

“Not only are risks, like nighttime driving, a particular danger to young drivers, nearly every state also has a law restricting how late teens may be out on the roads,” said Mr. Sinclair. “This is a timely reminder for parents to be actively involved in their teen’s learning-to-drive process, understanding the risks and to be educated on their state’s teen driving law.”

In preparation for the dangerous summer driving period, AAA encourages parents to educate their teens and themselves about risky behavior. Parents should:

  • Discuss with teens early and often the dangers of risky driving situations, such as speeding and nighttime driving.
  • Teach by example and minimize their own risky behavior when behind the wheel.
  • Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers. Consider setting driving limits that are stronger than the state’s law and enforce those limits.
  • Set aside specific times to practice driving with their teen.

TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools, including licensing and state law information, to help prepare parents and teens for not only the dangerous summer driving season, but all year long. The site also features new interactive widgets highlighting teen driving risks, as well as a social host quiz. The online AAA StartSmart program also offers great resources for parents on how to become effective in-car coaches, as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges.

Strengthening teen driving laws to increase roadway safety is a top priority for AAA. The Association’s advocacy efforts are helping to protect teens by working to pass Graduated Driver Licensing laws, including seat belt requirements, wireless device bans, and nighttime driving and passenger restrictions, in states across the country.