The AAA Foundation released a report that finds between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the 100 deadliest days for motor vehicle accidents involving teenaged drivers. Proms and graduations are upon us, with another crop of Maryland teenagers getting ready to kick up their heels and hit the roads this summer. With more free time on their hands, teenagers will be driving more as they hang out with friends, go to summer jobs, visit colleges—and just do the things teenagers do.
Statistically, this is the most dangerous time on the road for teenage drivers and their passengers—as well as for the driving public. Maryland parents should think long and hard about these frightening statistics before their teenagers get behind the wheel this summer. The Baltimore Times reports…
Nationally, between 2010 and 2014, more than 5,000 people have died in motor vehicle crashes involving teenaged drivers.
According to the AAA, traffic accidents involving drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 increase by 16 percent during the 100 deadliest days of summer.
The National Safety Council reports that the risk of having a fatal car accident goes up by 44 percent for teenaged drivers with passengers in the vehicle.
Teenagers have always been at increased risk for fatal motor vehicle accidents, due in large part to their lack of driving experience and immature sense of judgment. Add passengers and alcohol or other drugs to the mix, and it’s a recipe for disaster. What’s more, the dawn of cell phones and texting has added a dangerous new element of distraction to teenage driving risks.
However the AAA reports that that the age-old practice of teenagers horsing around in the car and distracting each other is actually more dangerous than cell phone use while driving. The AAA Foundation and the University of Iowa analyzed the moments leading up to a crash in more than 2,200 videos captured from in-car dash cameras between 2007 and 2012. The top three teen distractions in that study were as follows:
- Talking or attending to other passengers in the vehicle (15 percent of crashes)
- Talking, texting or operating a cell phone (12 percent of crashes)
- Attending to or looking at something inside the vehicle (11 percent of crashes)
Driving safety advocates recommend parents set limits on their teenage drivers, including limiting passengers in the vehicles as well as nighttime driving. Maryland traffic safety laws are behind parents in setting these restrictions: The Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Laws in Maryland requires 10 hours of supervised night driving practice for learners, prohibits unsupervised night driving between midnight and 5 am for intermediate drivers, and prohibits passengers younger than 18 (except for family) during the first five months of licensure (thought the latter can only be enforced as a secondary enforcement).
In addition, Maryland prohibits non-emergency use of hand-held cell phones for all drivers and on hands-free cell phones during the learner’s permit and intermediate stages (secondary enforcement). Texting while driving is illegal for all Maryland drivers.
Be careful out there this summer, during the AAA’s “100 deadliest days.” You’ll be sharing the road with our teenagers, who are still learning how to drive and about the very real dangers on our Maryland roadways.
Parents, beware: These are the 100 deadliest days for teens
Baltimore Times June 2, 2016