100 deadliest days of summer — NJ parents can save their teens behind the wheel
These are "the 100 deadliest days of summer," when teen driver fatalities rise annually. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, new teen drivers are 3 times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash. .
Eight people under age 20 have been killed on New Jersey roadways so far this year, compared to total numbers of 34 in 2016 and 39 in 2015.
"You pair the inexperience with the greater exposure, and unfortunately it is a deadly combination for teen drivers," says Tracy Noble, spokeswoman for the AAA/Mid-Atlantic.
"There are several things that happen at this time of year. Statistics show that teen crashes typically spike during the summer months because teens are out of school and they are on the road far more than they are during the school season. And the biggest factor that affects those teens drivers is inexperience."
Unfortunately, this deadly summer season is not just limited to New Jersey. AAA reports that over the past five years, more than 1,600 people were killed in crashes involving inexperienced teen drivers during this deadly period.
Noble advises parents of teen drivers to spend time with them this season, helping them steer toward safety and away from bad driving habits, such as texting while driving.
"If you are not working and can spend the time with your teen in the vehicle, the summer is the best time to do that, and get them more acclimated to our roadways and more comfortable behind the wheel."
And it involves more than just "passenger seat coaching" for the inexperienced. Noble advises: "Parents do need to lead by example on this front. Teens see their parents possibly tailgating or driving distracted, maybe reading an e-mail while behind the wheel. And if it is good enough for mom or dad, then why isn't it good enough for me?"
"Getting behind the wheel, you are putting your child behind a deadly weapon, and unfortunately, a lot of folks do not realize that at the onset."
Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5
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