© 2024 WRVO Public Media
NPR News for Central New York
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

AAA warns of '100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers'

Penn State

AAA coined the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the “100 Deadliest Days for Teen Drivers” as statistically, teens have a greater chance of being involved in a fatal car crash this time of year, than any other.

Nineteen people in New York state were killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the summer of 2021. That’s about the average every year and it’s a much higher rate than accidents during the rest of the year. Sgt. James Snell, Chair of the Onondaga County Traffic Advisory Board says a survey of teen drivers shows almost three-quarters engage in risky behavior behind the wheel.

"What we see is dangerous teen behavior," Snell said. "It’s either speed, taking chances, thinking they’re invincible. That’s what it is."

Snell said driver inexperience and a greater proclivity to take chances combine to create this deadly scenario. He said parents and caretakers need to be on top of their teen's driving activities.

"We protected them growing up from not riding their bike in traffic," Snell said. "Once they get at 2,000, 3,000-pound vehicle and now they’re a danger not only to themselves but someone else, parents kind of stop and say, 'They’re on their own.' You need to be just as concerned with their behaviors as if they were three or four years old.”

Snell also notes these teens haven’t been driving long enough to handle issues that may come up.

"People don’t know how to not distract the driver and the drivers don’t have the experience to deal with the distraction and also deal with everything it takes to operate a vehicle safely on the road," Snell said.

New York state has enacted several laws to encourage safety, including limiting hours teens can drive, as well as the number of people in a car. Snell encourages parents and teens to use the AAA online tools to get the latest on teen driving safety.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.