LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the ’100 Deadliest Days’ for teenage drivers. According to AAA, the number of vehicle crash fatalities involving teen drivers rise during this time.
On average, almost 700 people die each year in crashes involving teen drivers. Over the summer, the number of fatalities in these crashes is 17% higher compared to other times of the year, according to AAA.
“We tend to see more teens involved in crashes because if you think about it, they’re not at school during the day, many of them are working summer jobs, so there is more opportunity for them to be out and about during the summer.” Sergeant James Anderson with Louisiana State Police said.
New crash data from AAA shows there are three major factors in fatal teen crashes:
Speeding: 28% of crashes occurred because the driver was speeding, what experts say is an increasing problem among teen drivers.
Drinking and driving: 17% percent were due to drinking and driving; despite it being illegal for teens to drink, 1 in 6 involved in fatal crashes during the summer tested positive for alcohol in their systems.
Distraction: 9% of these crashes were due to drivers being distracted. One report shows more than half of teen drivers will read a text or email, while 40% will send a text or email all behind the wheel.
“When you look at the fatal crashes and serious injury crashes that we investigate, distracted driving is often a factor, but with teenagers excessive speed is very often a factor as well," Anderson said. "So we look at not driving too fast, we look at not driving distracted, and of course we look at not driving impaired. Often these crashes are a combination of these, also fatigue can play a role as well.”
Officials encourage parents and guardians to talk with teens about dangerous behavior behind the wheel and lead by example, saying they are the best line of defense to keep everyone safe behind the wheel and on the road this summer.