More than 1,000 teenagers have been killed in auto crashes in each of the past five summers, according to a report from AAA published on Wednesday. The association calls the summer driving season that begins with the Memorial Day weekend the “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers.
Nearly 60% of crashes involving teen drivers are the result of distracted driving. The research showed that texting and using social media while driving are rising among teen drivers. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reviewed more than 2,200 in-car dashboard videos from cars driven by teens that were involved in crashes and revealed three top distractions in the moments leading up to a crash. These were:
- Talking or attending to other passengers: 15%
- Talking, texting or using a cell phone: 12%
- Attending to or looking at something else in the vehicle: 11%
Based on its studies, AAA believes that official government statistics derived from police reports “substantially underestimate” the incidence of distracted driving among teens. The official statistics indicate distracted driving accounts for 14% of all crashes while a teen is driving. AAA’s research concluded that 59% of moderate-to-severe teen crashes were the result of distracted driving.
Jurek Grabowski, research director at the AAA Foundation, said:
Every day during the summer driving season, an average of 10 people die as a result of injuries from a crash involving a teen driver. This new research shows that distraction continues to be one of the leading causes of crashes for teen drivers. By better understanding how teens are distracted on the road, we can better prevent deaths throughout the 100 Deadliest Days and the rest of the year.
AAA director of state relations Jennifer Ryan added:
Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in crashes involving a teen driver are people other than the teen themselves. This shows that teen drivers can be a risk to everyone on the road and it is important to regulate their actions when behind the wheel.