HAMPTON ROADS, Va.— The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the 100 deadliest days of summer for teen drivers.
Last year in Virginia, 72 fatalities resulted from teen driver involved crashes last year, according to AAA Tidewater Virginia. Thirty of those deaths happened during the 100 deadliest day, and half of those 30 deaths were teenagers.
“They need to understand the risk that is involved as they drive. They can't control anybody else but their own actions,” said Kate Wilson, Manager of Public Affairs and Traffic Safety for AAA Tidewater Virginia.
Summer months have the highest rate of fatal crashes involving teen drivers, partly because school is out and more teens are out on the road.
AAA Tidewater says teen drivers are at higher risk for deadly crashes compared to adults because of their inexperience on the road. They encourage parents to lay out a driving agreement for teens and limit unnecessary trips.
“Establish clear rules about night driving, passengers in the car, access to the car and anything else that you want to add that you can put down on paper and the team can actually see what is expected of them,” said Wilson.
AAA says summer months are a good time for parents to spend more time behind the wheel with new drivers.
“Develop a relationship where you can do the commentary driving and help them to see well in advance things that could happen as they drive,” explained Wilson.
Crashes are the second leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. according to the CDC, which lists eight leading causes for teen crashes and injuries: Inexperience, driving with teen passengers, nighttime driving, not using seat belts, distracted driving, drowsy driving reckless driving and impaired driving.
“If they get into a situation where maybe they've been out drinking and they're afraid to call you, make sure they understand you are available to come get them, no questions asked,” said Wilson.
AAA Tidewater has resources online to help educate parents and teens, including free 60-minute Dare to Prepare virtual workshops.