Each year, the number of teenage drivers traveling New Jersey’s roadways rises between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when most teens are out of school. Teen drivers lack the driving experience that older drivers have. Many of them also admit to partaking in dangerous driving behaviors at alarming rates. These are among the reasons that safety advocates have dubbed the stretch of time that occurs between Memorial Day and Labor Day summer’s “100 Deadliest Days.”
According to New Jersey 101.5, 29% of fatal crashes involving teenage drivers take place during summer’s 100 Deadliest Days. During this time, teenage drivers are three times more likely than adult drivers to find themselves involved in a fatal crash. However, the dangerous driving behaviors of teenage drivers threaten not only teens but also other drivers and passengers in all age groups.
Research shows that 72% of teenage drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 admit to engaging in risky behaviors behind the wheel. Speeding is a major one, with 47% of teen drivers admitting to driving more than 10 mph over the limit in residential areas. The problem is also evident on highways, with 40% of teen motorists acknowledging driving at least 15 mph over the limit on highways. Texting while driving is also a common problem, with about 35% of teen motorists admitting to doing so.
Some believe that more training and more supervised driving would help lower fatal crash numbers during summer’s 100 Deadliest Days. New Jersey is one of only three states that does not currently mandate how many hours a teen driver should practice before going out on the road on his or her own.
Parents of teen drivers may be able to help reduce summer crash numbers by monitoring their teenagers behind the wheel and modeling responsible driving behaviors.