INDIANAPOLIS — As students begin their summer breaks many will spend more time in cars and on the road.
Over the past five years, nearly 3,500 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, known as the 100 Deadliest Days, according to AAA.
National data shows 260 teens are killed in crashes each month during the summer. That’s an increase of 26 percent compared to the other months of the year
Statistically, most teen crashes are caused by texting or talking.
“You’re thinking about your conversation and you stop checking and scanning,” said AA Indiana Driving School instructor Mike Ward.
That same data also shows that speeding is a factor in about one-third of all deadly crashes involving teen drivers.
“You come to an intersection and slow down,” Ward said. “If you’re going too slow, you can always speed up. If you’re going too fast, something bad is going to happen.”
Crash data from 2013 to 2017 shows the major factors contributing to a fatal teen crash include:
- Speeding: 28 percent
- Drinking and driving: 17 percent
- Distraction: 9 percent.
Data from the '100 Deadliest Days' over the past five years shows:
- An average of almost 700 people died in crashes involving teen drivers each year
- The average number of deaths from crashes involving teen drivers was 15 to 17 percent higher compared to other days of the year.
For the first 180 days after receiving their license, teen drivers in Indiana can’t have passengers under 25 years old, with some exceptions.
AAA says that when teen drivers have only teens in their vehicle, the fatality rate for all passengers goes up 51 percent, but when passengers 35 and older ride with a teen that rate drops by eight percent.
Ward says teaching good habits by example can help save your teen driver’s life.
“People need to set a good example when they’re driving because they’re going to be watching you drive and a lot of times they’re going to be a driver just like you are,” Ward said.