VIRGINIA BEACH — Teenage drivers during 2017’s “100 Deadliest Days,” the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, were involved in 376 vehicle crashes in Virginia Beach — more than 20 percent of the total crashes in the city that year, according to statistics from the Department of Motor Vehicle’s Virginia Highway Safety Office.
Those crashes resulted in 154 injuries — but no fatalities — said Brandy Brubaker, spokeswoman for the DMV.
AAA coined “100 Deadliest Days” because of the nationwide spike in teenager-involved vehicle crashes that occurs during that time.
The “deadliest” designation is based on data analyzed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. The statistics have lead to AAA pushing for more awareness among parents of teen drivers, said David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
“The number of fatal crashes involving teen drivers during the summer is an important traffic safety concern and research shows that young drivers are at greater risk and have higher crash rates compared to older and more experienced drivers,” Yang said. “Through education, proper training, and involvement of parents, we can help our young drivers to become better and safer drivers, which in turn keeps the roads safer for everyone.”
Speed, nighttime driving, and distractions are significant factors contributing toward the number of crashes involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days, according data from the 2016 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
- 36 percent of all vehicle fatalities involving teen drivers occurred between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
- 1 in 10 of all vehicle nighttime crash fatalities involved a teen driver.
- Data show a 22 percent increase in the average number of nighttime crashes per day involving teen drivers during the 100 Deadliest Days compared to the rest of the year.
- 1 in 10 of all vehicle speed-related fatalities involved a teen driver.
- 29 percent of all vehicle deaths involving a teen driver were speed-related.
“Not only are risks, like nighttime driving, a particular danger to young drivers, nearly every state also has a law restricting how late teens may be out on the roads,” said Georjeane Blumling, vice president of public affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “This is a timely reminder for parents to be actively involved in their teen’s learning-to-drive process, understanding the risks and to be educated on their state’s teen driving law.”
In preparation for the summer driving period, AAA has encouraged parents to:
- Discuss with teens early and often the dangers of risky driving situations, such as speeding and nighttime driving.
- Teach by example and minimize your own risky behavior when behind the wheel.
- Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers. Consider setting driving limits that are stronger than a state’s law, and enforce those limits.
The online AAA StartSmart program also offers great resources for parents on how to become effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges.
AAA has a teen driving website with a variety of tools, including licensing and state law information, to help prepare parents and teens for not only the dangerous summer driving season, but also all year long.