100 Deadliest Days: Tips for safe summer driving

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — AAA Western and Central New York are urging drivers to use caution as July winds down amid the “100 Deadliest Days.”

The "100 Deadliest Days" is the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when fatal teen crashes increase dramatically. Nationwide, 7,124 people died in teen driver-related summertime crashes over a ten-year period from 2011 to 2020.

With summer in full swing, many more people are on the roads. AAA is warning teen drivers to be extra diligent to avoid tragedies this season as they try to make the most of summer before school resumes.

Due to their inexperience, teen drivers are at a higher risk of crashes. According to the latest AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Culture Index, about 72 percent of teen drivers aged 16-18 admitted to having engaged in at least one of the following risky behaviors in the past 30 days:

  • Driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street (47%)
  • Driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway (40%)
  • Texting (35%)
  • Red-light running (32%)
  • Aggressive driving (31%)
  • Drowsy driving (25%)
  • Driving without a seatbelt (17%)

“Parents should talk with their teen drivers about safety regularly,” said Elizabeth Carey, AAA Western and Central New York’s director of PR & Corporate Communications. “Teens are faced with more distractions than ever before, leading to deadly mistakes, and parents are the best line of defense to keep everyone safe behind the wheel.”

Teens should store phones out of reach, mind speed limits, and stay away from impairing substances such as alcohol and marijuana. AAA encourages parents to:

  • Talk with teens early and often about avoiding dangerous behavior behind the wheel, such as speeding, impairment and distracted driving. Serve as a role model for safe behavior.
  • Teach by example, minimize risky behavior; conduct at least 50 hours of supervised practice driving with their teen.
  • Make a parent-teen driving agreement setting family rules for driving.

AAA has in-person lessons and online tools for parents and teens, including TeenDriving.AAA.com and the StartSmart program.