CHICAGO- Summer’s here, which means teenagers across the country are out of school and on the roads. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, summer is the deadliest time of year for teen drivers. Distracted driving and other threats are contributing to a spike in the frequency and severity of auto accidents for teens nationwide, according to the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
Recently released research from AAA found that new teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash. And the summer months are especially dangerous for all teen drivers. Deadly teen driver crashes increase 15 percent between Memorial Day and Labor Day compared to the rest of the year.
Teen driver risks also are being compounded by overall accident trends. Alarmingly, the United States is seeing some of the largest increases in auto accidents in more than 50 years. Auto accidents have increased 14 percent over the past two years. Last year, 4.6 million people were significantly injured on the roads, a 31 percent increase over the last seven years and a 12.2 percent increase since 2014.
“Distracted driving is thought to be one of the leading causes for the rise in vehicle accidents nationwide, and summertime activities bring even more distracted drivers to the roads,” said Bob Passmore, PCI’s assistant vice president of personal lines policy. “Too many drivers, including adults, are talking, texting, engaging on social media and using apps while driving. Taking our focus off the road for just a few seconds can lead to a tragic accident.”
“We encourage parents to take the time to talk to their teens about risky driving habits, including distracted driving and speeding,” said Passmore. “Finding the solution to this epidemic involves enacting stronger laws, increasing enforcement, raising public awareness and creating a culture of personal responsibility. This is the road map to fewer distracted driving accidents, injuries, and deaths.”
PCI offers the following tips to keep teens safe on the roads this summer.
PCI’s Top 5 Summer Driving Tips for Teens:
Avoid distracted driving. Put your smartphone away before you start driving. Try making a pledge with friends so that no one texts or uses their phones while driving. Limit other distractions too, such as eating, fiddling with controls or talking to passengers. Having more passengers in the car greatly multiplies the opportunity for distraction.
Observe speed limits. According to AAA, speeding is a factor in nearly 30 percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Pay close attention to your speed, and be especially cautious in construction work zones.
Buckle up. Whether you’re out for a longer drive or staying close to home, buckle up and drive safely. Seat belts save lives and help prevent injuries.
Be aware. Know what’s going on around you when you’re driving. Summer brings more activity to the roads and sidewalks. Be prepared for pedestrians and bicyclists that may dart in front of you.
Know what to do if you’re involved in an accident or stopped by the police. Make a plan with your parents so you know what to do if you are involved in an accident or get pulled over by the police. And be sure to have current insurance identification in your car.