Ala. (WHNT) - Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in America. Studies show, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is called "the 100 deadliest days" for teenage drivers.
That's because it's summer vacation for most beginning drivers.
Distracted driving. Drinking and driving. Not wearing a seat belt. Those are the three leading factors the CDC reports lead to 5,500 teen deaths every year.
Alabama State Trooper Curtis Summerville wants to remind everyone of a simple fact: Car crashes are the number one cause of fatalities for teenagers. He said, "They represent about ten percent of the American driving population, but they account for about 14 percent of all fatal crashes."
So, they are pretty over-represented in that degree. And just like the temperature, the death toll goes up in the summer months. Summerville said that's due to a number of factors.
"We have more drivers out this time of the month because school is out. A lot of teenagers are just getting their drivers's licenses during the summer months, so their out driving alone."
Here are the facts reported from the CDC:
- Teen drivers are three times likelier to be in a fatal crash than older drivers.
- Two out of three teen crash deaths happen when a new driver has one or more teen passengers.
- Nighttime fatal crash rates for teens are nearly twice as high as daytime rates.
In Alabama, there are laws to help our newest drivers avoid becoming one of those statistics.
"16-year-olds cannot drive between the hours of midnight and 6:00 in the morning. Also, that teenager, the brand new 16 year-old-driver, can only have one other teenager in the car with them. And those are laws that we enforce as state troopers, but we also need parents to actually enforce those laws."
Parents, set rules. Remind them not to text and drive. Set consequences if your teen breaks these rules.
If you want some extra driving instruction for your teen, you can enroll them in AAA Alabama's next defensive driving class, scheduled for this week.