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Why teen-involved crashes pile up during the summer

Summertime means more freedom for Oklahoma high school and college students. However, it also means enhanced dangers for everyone who shares the road with these young, inexperienced drivers. Fatal and nonfatal car wrecks involving teenage drivers rise across the state and nation during the summer months, and so much so that the span between Memorial Day and Labor Day is now known as the 100 Deadliest Days of summer.

Per AAA, teen motorists lack the driving experience of older, more experienced motorists. They are also more prone to throwing caution to the wind and engaging in dangerous behind-the-wheel behaviors. This combination leads to a summertime uptick in teen-involved car crashes, many of which produce one or more injuries or fatalities.

100 Deadliest Day statistics

Between 2010 and 2019, there were 210 fatal crashes involving teenage motoriststhat took place during the 100 Deadliest Days periods across Oklahoma. Yet, there were just 238 such crashes that occurred during that entire 10-year timeframe.

100 Deadliest Day crash contributing factors

A AAA study showed that more than 70% of teenage motorists admit to engaging in reckless driving behaviors within the past 30 days. Many of the same reckless behaviors are common factors in 100 Deadliest Days car crashes. Some teen driver-involved summer crashes involve texting and red-light running. Others involve drivers speeding, driving while distracted or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, among other behaviors.

Parents of teen drivers may be able to make their teens safer drivers by modeling responsible driving behaviors themselves. Parents may also wish to set limits regarding when, where and with whom their teens may drive.