Many people will hit the road this summer to travel or see family and friends. However, this is also the start of a dangerous season for some.
Memorial Day weekend kicks off what has become known as the 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers, specifically ages 16-19.
According to research done by AAA, in 2016, more than a thousand people were killed nationwide involving a teen driver during the 100 Deadliest Days — which lasts until Labor Day.
AAA said that’s an average of 10 people per day, a 14-percent increase compared to the rest of the year.
The numbers in Kansas are also concerning to experts.
“We saw 42 fatalities involving crashes with teen drivers,” said Shawn Seward, with AAA Kansas. “A lot of injuries — 2,700 injuries and also a lot of property damage.”
Some of the factors include nighttime driving, between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Research showed 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.
Another contributing factor is speed — 29-percent of all motor vehicle deaths involving a teen driver were speed-related.
“We just really urging parents and teens to have conversations this summer,” Steward said.
AAA encourages parents to educate their teens and themselves about risky driving behaviors:
- 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 the limits.
Steward said AAA is currently working to strengthen teen driving laws to improve roadway safety.