Maryland Drivers Beware: The “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” Have Begun

School’s out! And that means more teenaged and inexperienced drivers on our Maryland highways, city and suburban streets, and rural backroads. Public safety officials describe the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as “the 100 deadliest days of summer” – due to the historical increase in motor vehicle accidents involving younger, inexperienced drivers.

Traffic crashes remain the number-one cause of death among teenagers. Let’s take a look at some of the statistics and factors contributing to this serious public safety problem.

According to a recent teen road fatalities report (link below), 3,082 people were killed in crashes on U.S. roadways involving a teen driver between 15 and 20 years of age in 2022; this number includes the death of teenage drivers (2,032) as well as their passengers (1,050). These numbers alone are enough to keep any parent of a teen driver awake at night.

The main causes contributing to fatal teen driving traffic accidents in are as follows:

  • Alcohol consumption: 632 teenage motorists lost their lives due to driving under the influence in 2022. Even though the legal age to consume alcohol is 21, underaged drinking and driving remains a national public safety problem.
  • Speeding: 1,826 teen motorists lost their lives in speed-related crashes.
  • Distracted Driving: Including texting, talking on cell phones, eating, talking to passengers, putting on makeup, and other activities that take eyes and concentration off the road. Distracted driving led to 296 teen traffic accident deaths in 2022.
  • Lack of Seat Belt Use: Tragically, 50 percent of teens who lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes in 2022 were not wearing their seat belts.

Many teen drivers lack the judgment, instincts, and know-how that comes with adulthood and years of experience behind the wheel driving a motor vehicle. This is why states, including Maryland (where the entry age is 15.9 months with required driver education for any age), have graduated licensing laws. These learner’s permit programs allow young drivers to gain experience and learn to drive with restrictions and under supervision, before they become fully licensed drivers.

Summer is supposed to be a time for teenagers to kick back – to hang out with their friends, work at summer jobs, go on vacation with their families, and get ready for the school year ahead. But tragically, far too many times, teenagers lose control behind the wheel and crash their cars, trucks, or SUVs … and their stories end up on the evening news. Each of the 3,082 young people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2022 had a future before them – which abruptly ended.

Drive safely out there this summer, Maryland. And remember, we’re sharing the road with young drivers still learning what it means to be safe and responsible behind the wheel.


Teen Driver Report – The States with the Most and Least Teenage Driving Fatalities
Zutobi Driver’s Ed  May 16, 2024

Maryland Learner’s Permit program
Maryland Department of Transportation
Motor Vehicle Administration  collected online June 20, 2024

Contact Information