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Is Summer More Dangerous for Teen Drivers? Data Suggests it May Be

ⓒ Ron Lach | Pexels

With the passage of Memorial Day on Monday, a time of year is beginning which may be the most dangerous time to be a teenage driver in Florida. According to an assessment by AAA spokesman Mark Jenkins, we’re now in a time known as the ‘100 deadliest days for teen drivers’, when data shows fatal car accidents involving adolescents increases.

Data collected from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that nearly half of fatal accidents involving teen drivers occur during the 100-day period in question, which runs through Labor Day weekend in September. In 2023 in Florida, teenagers were involved in almost 20,000 crashes during this period, with 68 of them being fatal and 83 people being killed in total.

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So why is the risk suddenly higher in the summer? It may be as simple as teens having more time to drive. “The risk gets higher during the summer for teen drivers and everyone else they share the road with,” Jenkins said of the trend. “Now that school is out, these young, inexperienced drivers will spend more time on the road with their friends.”

Still, the worrying trend isn’t necessarily a cause for parents and guardians to shut down their teens’ driving altogether. According to Jenkins’ report, there are several steps that can be taken to lower the risk of a fatal traffic accident over the summer. Namely, teens should refrain from distracted driving habits like cell phone usage, avoid peer pressure to drive dangerously for fun, obey the speed limit, and always wear their seat belts. In particular, teen drivers who were speeding or who were not wearing a seat belt make up a large portion of fatal accidents in 2023.

Beyond that, parents and guardians can also take an active role in making their teens safe drivers. “The single most important thing parents can do to help their teens become safe drivers is to be involved in their ‘learning to drive’ process,” added Rachel Wilson, AAA Director of Driver Education Programs. “Spend time coaching your teen while they’re behind the wheel and have a serious discussion about safety.”

Written By

Chris Gollon is a Flagler County resident since 2004, as well as a staple of the local independent music scene and avid observer of Central Florida politics, arts, and recreation.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. TR

    May 29, 2024 at 2:09 pm

    Parents in the learning process of teaching their kids how to drive. Yea, what if the parents can’t drive either and they are just going to pass their bad habits to their kids. The kids picture says it all. though and also the article. They are inexperienced. Not to mention will spend a lot of time on the phone while driving.

    Good luck to everyone out there for the next 8 to 10 weeks.

  2. CL

    May 30, 2024 at 6:34 am

    I’m not so sure anymore how the kids learn how to drive. My siblings and I were taught by our dad. Their kids were taught in school. If I remember correctly when they turned 17 they got the permit and then had to sign up with a driving school. In any case I sure hope whoever teaches these kids how to drive teaches them how to use a round about.

    • TR

      May 30, 2024 at 5:20 pm

      We had drivers ed in high school for the seniors. If you failed the course you had to sign up with a driving school before taking the road test to get your license. I’m not to sure it’s a good idea for a parent to teach their kids how to drive even though they may think they are the best drivers in the world. A state certified teacher is the best.

      As far as round abouts go. it was unheard of when I was learning to drive about 50 yrs ago. But just recently picked up a drivers manual and it’s in there. So the kids of today hopefully will learn the proper way of dealing with one. The drivers who were never taught how to use ones have the problems. I learned in Europe while visiting family once but to maneuver then here is ridicules because they are to small to used properly. Semi’s have the hardest time.

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