Many of us have memories of that last beautiful summer as a teenager before we were working full time. There was plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine and test out our new driving skills for a taste of freedom. Unfortunately, this happy time turns into a tragic accident more often than we would like. Annual survey results from Liberty Mutual and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) indicate that teen drivers often engage in more risky driving behaviors during the summer months than during the school year that lead to crashes, serious injuries and, sometimes deaths.
Teen Driving Accidents
Summer Driving More Deadly for Teen Drivers
More teens die in car crashes during the summer months (June through September) than any other time of the year. Of the 6,434 youth (ages 15 to 20) car crash fatalities in 2000, July saw more deaths (644) than any other month, followed by June (600), September (590) and August (587).
Summer Teen Driving Data
- Since they have more free time and/or are driving to summer jobs, teen drivers average 44 percent more hours driving each week during the summer (23.6 hours) than during the school year (16.4 hours). The more we are behind the wheel; the more likely we are to be involved in a car accident.
- The “Piling-In” effect is in full swing in the summer when 23% of teen drivers are likely to drive with three or more teens in the car, compared to 6 percent of teen drivers who do this during the school year. Car crash rates for teens rise significantly as the number of passengers increases, particularly among the youngest teens aged 16 and 17.
- Teens tend to be out later at night in the summer: 72% of teens report they stay out later during the summer than the school year. Additionally, 47% of teen drivers drive late at night during the summer as compared to 6% percent of teen drivers who drive late at night during the school year. This fact is particularly important because more than a quarter (27 percent) of all teen driving deaths, ages 16 to19, occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2 a.m.
- Sleep deprivation is more prevalent in the summer and 24% of teen drivers admit to getting behind the wheel while sleepy in the summer as compared to just 9% who drive tired during the school year.
Other teen behavior that compounds the risks of summer driving
- 87% of teens admit to talking on a cell phone while driving.
- 87% of teens admit to speeding while driving
- About one third of teen drivers use drugs or alcohol and may still be experiencing the effects when they get behind the wheel.
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