Tuesday, July 18, 2017

100 Deadliest Days

Summer may be halfway over, but there are still more than 50 days left of the most dangerous time of year for new teen drivers, ages 16-17.

As we enter the mid-point for the what American Automobile Association of Kansas (AAA Kansas) calls the “100 deadliest Days,” the Kansas Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers of all ages that fatal teen crashes are on the rise. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, (NHTSA) in 2015, the number of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes increased by more than 10 percent from the previous year.

One of the starkest nationwide trends that AAA Kansas found was new teen drivers are three times more likely than adults to be involved in a crash.

KDOT’s crash data says that drivers between the ages of 15-19 years old were involved in 11,348 crashes in 2015. Of those crashes, there were 2,732 injuries and 40 teen casualties.
According to AAA, three main factors contribute to these crashes:

Distracted Driving: Not paying attention to the road ahead is a huge contributing factor in teen crashes. According to AAA, 6 out of 10 crashes were the result of distracted driving.  The main distractions for teen drivers are talking with friends and using their cell phones while driving.

Not Using a Seat Belt: Teens who use their seatbelts are more likely to reduce their risk of being seriously injured or dying in a car crash. According to the latest data, 60 percent of teens who were killed in a car crash were not buckled up.

Speeding: Driving over the speed limit was a factor in nearly 30 percent of fatal teen crashes.

There are many ways that we can encourage inexperienced drivers to travel safely.

Talk about safe driving: Simply talking about how to stay safe behind the wheel can be one of the best ways to ensure a young driver remembers key safety tips.

Lead by example: Drivers of all ages should remember that they are being observed by teens and kids who will one day take to the road in vehicles of their own. Experienced drivers should minimize risky behavior while driving, so novice drivers can learn what being safe behind the wheel looks like. Parents or guardians, create a parent-teen driving agreement like this one from AAA Kansas, that sets family rules for teen drivers.

If every driver practiced safe driving skills while behind the wheel, the 100 Deadliest Days could be the 100 Safest Days for teen drivers.

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