Parents of teen drivers have a lot to worry about

Monday, June 5, 2017

Teens have a lot on their minds this summer, whether it’s learning about their new job, thinking about school or college next fall, getting to know a new boyfriend or girlfriend, or that new drivers license and the freedom and responsibility that comes along with it.

Their parents have even more to worry about (see above).

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has some information that should prod parents into having a serious talk with their young drivers, as well as some sobering information that should help get their teens’ attention.

New teen drivers ages 16-17 years old are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash, according to new research from the AAA Foundation.

Over the past five years, more than 1,600 people were killed in crashes involving inexperienced teen drivers during the “100 Deadliest Days” between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to the AAA. The average number of deadly teen driver crashes climbs 15 percent compared to the rest of the year.

“Teen crashes spike during the summer months because teens are out of school and on the road,” said Amy Stracke, Managing Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy for AAA - The Auto Club Group. “The Foundation’s research found that inexperience paired with greater exposure on the road create a deadly combination for teen drivers.”

According to the study, which analyzes crash rates per mile driven for all drivers, for every mile driven on the road, drivers ages 16-27 are:

* 3.9 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a crash

* 2.6 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a fatal crash

* 4.5 times as likely as drivers 30-59 to be involved in a crash

* 3.2 times as likely as drivers 30-59 to be involved in a fatal crash

Fatal teen crashes are on the rise as well, up more than 10 percent from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

AAA urges parents to get involved in a determined way, especially by modeling good driving behaviors like staying off the phone and always buckling up.

According to the Nebraska Department of Roads Highway Safety Office, while teen drivers 19 and younger represent only 7.2 percent of all Nebraska drivers, in 2016 they were involved in:

* 21 percent of all reported crashes

* 24 percent of crashes between 9 p.m. and midnight.

* 16 percent of all crashes between midnight and 3 a.m.

* 26 percent of crashes using a cell phone

* 35 percent of “exceeding the speed limit” crashes

* 18 percent of “failure to yield” crashes

* 26 percent of all single-vehicle rollover crashes

* 21 percent of crashes due to “road conditions:

* 23 percent of “speed too fast for conditions” crashes

* 25 percent of rear-end type collisions

* 11 percent of alcohol-involved crashes.

* 100 percent of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were not wearing their safety belts in 2016.

To keep roads safer this summer, AAA encourages parents to:

* Have conversations with their teens early and often about distraction and speeding.

* Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.

TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season.

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