10 people die every day
during the summer from a
crash involving a teen driver
By Jayleen R. Heft, PropertyCasualty360.com
Sadly, crashes for teen drivers in- crease significantly during the summer months because teens
drive more during this time of year.
Just in time for summer and increased
teen driving, the AAA Foundation for
Traffic Safety has released a study confirming that nearly 60 percent of teen crashes
involve distractions behind the wheel.
The research also finds a disturbing trend
showing that texting and social media use
are on the rise amongst teen drivers.
“Every day during the summer driving
season, an average of 10 people die as a
result of injuries from a crash involving
a teen driver,” said Jurek Grabowski, re-
search director for the AAA Foundation
for Traffic Safety. “This new research
shows that distraction continues to be
one of the leading causes of crashes for
teen drivers. By better understanding how
teens are distracted on the road, we can
better prevent deaths throughout the 100
Deadliest Days and the rest of the year.”
Trends in teen driver crashes
The AAA Foundation analyzed the moments leading up to a crash in more than
2,200 videos captured from in-car dash
cameras. The latest report compared new
crash videos with those captured from
You might be surprised to learn that
the No. 1 distraction for teens is not related to their cell phone use.
The AAA Foundation study found the
following to be the top three distractions
for teens when behind the wheel in the
moments leading up to a crash:
1. Talking or attending to other passengers
in the vehicle ( 15 percent of crashes).
2. Talking, texting or operating a cell
phone ( 12 percent of crashes).
3. Attending to or looking at something
inside the vehicle: ( 11 percent of crashes).
Between 2007 and 2015, an average of
59 percent of crashes contained some type
of potentially distracting behavior during
the six seconds leading up to a crash.
The latest government statistics indicate that in 2014, 10 percent of teen drivers involved in a fatal crash were reported
to have been distracted at the time of the
crash. Proportionally, this is more than
any other age group.
The AAA Foundation report notes
that experts believe that the government
statistics substantially underestimate the
prevalence of driver distraction. Data
suggests that the true proportion of
crashes that can be attributed to distraction and inattention is likely much higher.
Cellphones, texting and
Researchers found that how teens use their
cellphones when behind the wheel changed
significantly over the course of the study. In
the moments leading up to a crash, teens
were more likely to be texting or looking
down at the phone than talking on it. This
supports findings by the Pew Research
Center, which shows text messaging has
become a key component in day-to-day
interactions amongst teenagers.
“It’s no secret that teens are extremely
connected to their cell phones,” said Jen-
nifer Ryan, AAA director of state rela-
tions. “Many teens are texting or using
social media behind the wheel more of-
ten than in the past, which is making an
unsafe situation even worse.”
Research by the Virginia Tech Trans-
portation Institute found that texting cre-
ates a crash risk 23 times worse than driv-
ing while not distracted. A recent AAA
Foundation survey shows that nearly 50
percent of teen drivers admitted they had
read a text message or e-mail while driv-
ing in the past 30 days.
NHTSA’s National Occupant Protection Use Survey also shows that from
Mobile County Sheriff Deputies examine a car involved in an early morning accident
that killed 16-year-old LaDonna Perryman, who was driving on Old Pascagoula
Road in Grand Bay, Alabama. (Michelle Rolls/Press-Register/AP Photo)