If you’re the parent of a teen driver, the American Automobile Association has a warning for you: seventy percent of the top-ten deadliest days for teen drivers occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
A study of accident data from 2005 to 2009 shows that the summer months of June, July and August yielded an average of 422 teen fatalities per month, compared to an average of 363 teen deaths per month during non-summer months. The AAA attributes the spike to a combination of driver inexperience and more teens on the road at night during summer months.
Despite restrictions on nighttime driving or the number of passengers permitted under graduated driver licensing laws, the AAA suggests that teen drivers can still benefit from parental advice. The AAA offered these tips for parents of teen drivers:
- Restrict driving and eliminate unnecessary trips – Based on miles driven, teen drivers are three times more likely to have a fatal accident than all other categories of drivers. This risk is highest during the first year of solo driving.
- Be a good coach – Parent-supervised new driver training is still one of the best ways for teen drivers to gain experience behind the wheel.
- Limit the number of passengers, and limit your teen’s time as a passenger – Teen accident rates increase with the number of passengers in the vehicle, and are five times higher with two or more passengers than with solo drivers.
- Restrict night driving – The chance of a fatal crash involving a teen driver doubles when driving at night. This isn’t just restricted to late-night driving, as half of the nighttime crashes occur between 9:00 p.m. and midnight.
- Establish a parent-teen driving agreement – Written agreements help establish and enforce rules, which are easily forgotten when simply discussed.
To this list, we’d add a “Sign your new driver up for a teen-centered driving school, such as Tire Rack’s Street Survival program.” These schools are held coast-to-coast, are reasonably priced and teach new drivers how to cope with real-life driving situations in a controlled environment. That certainly beats learning on your own in a deserted parking lot, or on a black-ice coated city street.