BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. – It’s the time of year AAA has dubbed the deadliest for driving, especially for teens.
As we reported over the weekend, a Bedford County crash killed one teen and sent another to the hospital. While we still don’t know the cause of the accident, it’s a stark reminder of the dangers on the road.
More than 7,000 people were killed across the nation in accidents involving teens between Memorial Day and Labor Day during the past decade.
AAA says drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash than those 18 and older.
“Teen drivers just don’t have a lot of that experience,” AAA Spokesperson Morgan Dean says. “Each and every day is still a learning on for them.”
State police say 64 teens were killed last year and more than 6,000 were hurt in crashes. So far this year, teen driver deaths have more than doubled from last year.
So, what can you do?
“Avoid all those distractions as they get into the vehicle, make sure that they buckle up every time, don’t tailgate, use the turning signals,” Dean says.
According to AAA, smartphones are still the number one cause of distractions. It’s something police say they hope a 2020 law will deter.
“You can no longer hold your cell phone when you’re driving. That is so important,” Carrie Dungan with the Lynchburg Police Department says. “We need teens and everyone on the roads to put their phones down and pay attention to what’s going on around you.”
Experts say it’s always important to have a safe driving talk with your kids, but more important to lead by example when they’re in your passenger seat.
State police have a summer campaign called “Arrive Alive,” which started in March and goes through the summer months to encourage teens to practice safe driving habits.
Click here to learn more about “Arrive Alive.”