School’s out for summer! And that means more novice teenage drivers out on our Maryland back roads, city streets and highways. For parents and all Maryland motorists, this should be cause for concern.
The AAA reports that novice drivers are at greater risk for serious motor vehicle accidents, with an average of nearly 700 deaths in the U.S. each year from traffic crashes involving teen drivers. According to AAA, the school summer vacation period between Memorial Day and Labor Day represents the “100 deadliest days” on our roadways. In the last five years—during this deadly time frame—nearly 3,500 people have been killed on our nation’s roadways as a result of auto accidents involving teenage drivers.
AAA lists some of the risk factors that can lead to teenage drivers being involved in fatal motor vehicle accidents:
- Distraction (9 percent)
- Drinking and driving (17 percent)
- Speeding (28 percent)
The AAA believes distraction is an under-reported problem among teenage drivers. A recent AAA study using dash-cam video to record young drivers’ behaviors showed distraction to be a factor in 58 percent of teen traffic accident cases — more than four times as great as the federal estimate. Distraction can include using cellphones to talk, read email, and send and read text messages; eating food; adjusting the stereo; putting on makeup; and interacting with passengers in the vehicle.
AAA recommends that parents talk with their teens “early and often” about driving safety and risks on the road. Parents should also model safe driving behaviors, for example, by driving within the speed limit and abstaining from talking and texting on cellphones while driving.
Please drive with caution when you’re out and about on our Maryland roadways this summer. And parents, take part in educating your teenagers about the responsibilities — and very real risks — of getting behind the wheel of an automobile. According to the Maryland Department of Transportation, Motor Vehicle Administration, 52 people are killed and more than 6,700 people are injured in crashes involving teen or younger drivers (between 16 and 20 years old, based on a five-year average for 2011 through 2015). Have a safe summer!
Related Maryland Injury Attorney article:
AAA Reveals Key Deadly Behaviors for Teen Drivers as “100 Deadliest Days” Begin
AAA Newsroom May 30, 2019
Young Drivers in Maryland Fast Facts
Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration, collected June 10, 2019