Frightening Facts about Teenage DriversDriving carries significant risk for young drivers because of their inexperience and propensity to be distracted. Parents of teens have a responsibility to teach their young drivers how to be safe drivers by establishing ground rules for when they are behind the wheel, and making sure that they have enough supervised practice time before they go out on the roads driving unsupervised. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that about half of teens will be involved in a car crash before they graduate from high school.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that more than 5,000 people have been killed in traffic crashes involving teen drivers during the period that begins on Memorial Day and ends on Labor Day –the 100 deadliest days of the year for teen drivers. About 60 percent of those crashes involving teen drivers were caused by distractions behind the wheel. During the 100 deadliest days, an average of 1,022 people die in crashes involving teen drivers, and the average number of deaths from traffic crashes increased by 16 percent for drivers between the ages of 16-19 (as compared with the other days of the year).

Researchers from AAA in collaboration with researchers at the University of Iowa analyzed video of the moments before a crash in more than 2,200 videos shot with dash-mounted cameras. They compared the results of the footage captured during the years of 2007-2012 and identified trends in the top three distractions for teen drivers in the moments leading up to a crash:

  • Talking to passengers in the vehicle (15 percent of crashes)
  • Talking or texting on a mobile phone (12 percent of crashes)
  • Attending to or looking at something outside of the vehicle (11 percent of crashes)