School is finally out for the Summer and even if your teen has been driving all year, Summer means more free time and that always means more teen driving.  In fact, the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day can present serious safety issues for teen drivers and their passengers.  In 2013 an average of 239 teen drivers and their passengers died in traffic accidents every one of those three months – nearly a fifty percent higher rate than the rest of the year.


Most of us would probably like to be an invisible rider in the vehicle with our teen driver to actually see how they do and the American Automobile Association (AAA) Foundation did a study that made some very interesting discoveries.  They put cameras in vehicles then analyzed the six seconds just before a crash in about 1,700 videos of teen drivers.  It’s no surprise that they found driver distractions were a factor in nearly 58% of all crashes.  The most common of these distractions were:

  • Interacting with one or more of their passengers (a factor in 15% of the crashes),
  • Cell phone use (12% of crashes),
  • Looking at something in the vehicle (10%),
  • Looking at something outside the vehicle (9%), and
  • Singing / moving to music (8% of crashes).


Unfortunately for all of us, many of these accidents are preventable.  As parents we need to reinforce good driving habits by setting a good example.  Remove and ignore distractions in your own driving, obey driver distraction laws and discuss these issues with your teen.  Finally, be sure your teen and the other teen drivers, with whom your teen is a passenger, uphold the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) rules so that they can gain experience and skills in a safe and practical way.


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