This week marked the beginning of what is known as the ‘100 Deadliest Days’, according to the American Automobile Association. This period, lasting from Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend, is the most dangerous time of the year for young drivers.

According to the AAA, for every mile on the road, new teenage drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash when compared to older citizens behind the wheel. And with summer break on the horizon, teens are that much more likely to get out on the road- not just in the daytime, but at night.

In North Dakota alone, 102 people have died in teen driver-related crashes over the past ten summers. 40% of those fatalities happen during the Deadliest Days. These statistics can also be seen nationwide, with an average of 2,063 teen drivers in deadly collisions around the United States (and 31% of them taking place over the same time period).

In order to combat the higher rate of accidents during these 100 days, AAA recommends understanding and avoiding the major risks involved in teenagers navigating traffic. Knowing and avoiding making these mistakes can be the key to avoiding an accident.

“Teens’ inexperience behind the wheel makes them more susceptible to dangerous driving behaviors – like speeding, distracted driving, and driving while drowsy,” said LaDoucer. “Even young drivers that are prepared and focused carry an increased crash risk due to their lack of experience behind the wheel. That’s why it’s so important for parents to play an active role in guiding their teens toward safe driving behaviors.”

It’s not just teens who can help reduce the number of casualties, either: there’s plenty that parents can do to make sure their kids are prepared for driving.

Tips to Prepare your Teen for the Road

  • Talk with teenagers early and often about the consequences of distracted driving.
  • Teach by example: be acclimated to proper traffic law and driving behavior when driving with your teen.
  • Establish a family agreement stating the terms and conditions of allowing teens behind the wheel.
  • Enroll teens in both online and in-person driving courses.
  • Conduct supervised practice driving with your teen (AAA recommends at least 50 hours).

Additional statistics can be found at the Vision Zero North Dakota web page. AAA also offers a 25-hour online curriculum to help teens get ready for the road.