Between 2013 and 2017, nearly 3,500 people lost their lives in crashes involving teen drivers during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to new data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
That translates into an average of almost 700 deaths every year during the period studied.
Known as the 100 Deadliest Days on the nation’s roadways, this particular stretch of the summer is also know for a spike in crash fatalities that involve teen drivers. In fact, the average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers ages 15-18 was 17% higher per day compared to other days of the year.
It’s more important than ever for commercial fleet drivers to be vigilant while on the road during the summer. Stay alert for young, inexperienced motorists and practice defensive driving strategies.
The new crash data, which covers from 2013 to 2017, reveals the top three contributing factors in fatal teen driver collisions. Speeding ranks first, playing a role in 28% of fatal crashes, followed by alcohol-impaired driving (17%) and distraction (9%).
Speeding significantly increases the severity of a crash and is a growing problem among teen drivers.
In the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index, 49.7% of teen drivers reported speeding on a residential street in the past 30 days and nearly 40% admitted to speeding on the freeway.
While teens cannot legally consume alcohol, one in six teen drivers involved in fatal crashes during the summer tested positive for alcohol.
Finally, 52% of teens surveyed by the AAA Foundation said they read a text message or email while driving in the past 30 days, and nearly 40% report sending a text or email.
Editor's note: The headline of this story incorrectly stated the number of deaths attributed to teen drivers. It has been corrected.