DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – With Memorial Day marking the unofficial start of summer and with COVID restrictions lifting, more drivers are expected to be on the roads, including teens.
Pat Brown, driving school supervisor for AAA in the Miami Valley, said the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is already known as the ‘100 Deadliest Days’ for inexperienced 16- and 17-year-old drivers, but the easing of COVID restrictions could potentially increase the chances of accidents.
“With the 100 deadliest days we lose about seven teens a day due to these crashes,” said Brown. “So you just need to be aware of it. People think ‘It won’t happen to me,’ but it does. It happens to everybody, every single day.”
AAA research shows that more than 7,000 teens across the country died in crashes between Memorial Day and Labor Day from 2010 to 2019. Brown said more than 250 of those occurred in Ohio, but most could’ve been prevented.
“They did a survey with the teens and the teens admitted to driving over 10 miles per hour in residential areas, over 15 miles per hour in the highway area, and then doing things like texting or running red lights or things like that. So [with] their experience, they think they can go a little faster than they should, which is what usually gets them in trouble with speed. And then the other thing is distraction — texting while they’re driving and things like that.”
Brown said parents can take measures to keep their kids safe by making sure their children have at least 50 supervised hours of driving time and requiring their teens to return home before dark when most accidents happen. He added, adults can also help new drivers, by simply paying more attention and following the rules of the road.
“The adults need to sort of watch out, see if they’re around teen drivers, see if they can recognize maybe their driving patterns and watch what they do,” Brown explained. “You want to be a defensive driver whether you’re a teen or adult.”
Brown said another tip for eliminating distractions is making sure teens do not have more than one other peer in the vehicle with them while they are still novice drivers. The more peers that are in the car, he said, the higher the likelihood that the driver will be distracted.