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Parents should talk to teens about responsible driving

EDITORIAL

The Advocate-Messenger

As school lets out for summer break, teens are hitting the road more often. According to a new data, teenagers contribute heavily to traffic deaths during the summer months.

“Over the past five years, nearly 3,500 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the period that has become known as the ‘100 Deadliest Days,’ when the number of crash fatalities involving a teen driver historically rise,” according to a press release from AAA issued Thursday.

New crash data from 2013-17 reveals major factors contributing to fatal teen crashes during the summer driving period include speeding (28%), drinking and driving (17%) and distraction (9%).

In the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index, half (49.7%) of teen drivers reported speeding on a residential street in the past 30 days and nearly 40% say they sped on the freeway.

Despite the fact that teens cannot legally consume alcohol, one in six teen drivers involved in fatal crashes during the summer tested positive for alcohol.

AAA Foundation research found nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen behind the wheel.

More than half of teen drivers (52%) in the AAA Foundation’s latest Traffic Safety Culture Index report reading a text message or email while driving in the past 30 days and nearly 40% report sending a text or email.

Additional AAA Foundation research using in-vehicle dash-cam videos of teen driver crashes found distraction was involved in 58% of teen crashes, approximately four times as many as federal estimates.

According to the release, during the “100 Deadliest Days” over the past five years:

— An average of almost 700 people died each year in crashes involving teen drivers.

— 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.

Teens are a vulnerable driver group with a higher probability of being involved in crashes. Teens are more inexperienced drivers who will understandably make mistakes on the road. However, there are many factors to accidents caused by teen drivers that can be prevented.

AAA has multiple resources for parents with teen drivers at teendriving.aaa.com/KY.

Parents should talk to their teens about the importance of being responsible drivers, and warn against reckless driving practices, including drinking and driving, texting, speeding and other distractions.