100 Deadliest Days for Teens

We’re 3 weeks into May, which means another successful Global Youth Traffic Safety Month (GYTSM) is well underway. The event, organized by the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), includes special events, scholarships, rallies, and more, and is dedicated to raising awareness of teen traffic safety issues and promoting youth leadership. 

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a proud partner of NOYS, a coalition of non-profit, government, and corporate groups working to empower youth and save lives. Over the years, we've participated in planning GYTSM events, released teen driver safety research in conjunction with the month, and even acted as "Walk Ambassadors" for the Long, Short Walk, an international initiative spearheaded by the Zenani Mandela Campaign and Make Roads Safe to promote road safety's inclusion in the UN Development Goals.

Even though GYTSM 2014 will end May 31, it's important to keep up the mission of the month all summer long. In fact, the coming Memorial Day weekend marks the start of the "100 Deadliest Days" for teen drivers, with an average of 261 teens losing their lives in traffic crashes during each of the summer months (a 26% increase compared with the rest of the year). This is among the many reasons teen driver safety is one of our priority research areas.

For example, a Foundation study of teens and passengers found that the risk of death for 16- and 17-year-old drivers increases by 44% when carrying one passenger under 21, doubles with two passengers, and quadruples with three or more versus driving alone. 
Furthermore, the prevalence of speeding, late-night driving, and alcohol use also tend to increase with teenage passengers in the car. Having an adult in the car, however, cuts fatality risk to 16- and 17-year-old drivers by 62%, underscoring the important role parents and guardians play in keeping their teen drivers safe. When parents drive with their teens in different road situations, such as at night, in heavy traffic, or in inclement weather, they are helping to prepare them for the many driving scenarios they will encounter throughout their motoring careers. And of course, parents play a key role in helping teens limit dangerous distractions in the vehicle, such as smartphones and other electronics!

For more information about Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, check out the NOYS website, or join the Twitter conversation with #GYTSM14. And of course, all of our teen safety materials can be found at traffic-payout.org.