Summer roads in Montana can be deadly for teens

Posted at 8:59 AM, May 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-31 10:59:07-04

MISSOULA – The 100 days of summer are the most dangerous for teen drivers, according to the automotive group AAA. Reporter  Jack Ginsburg takes a closer look at the report and how kids and parents can avoid tragedy on the roads.

AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety reports that the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the 100 deadliest days on the road, specifically for teenagers.

Data from a recent report also shows a 22% uptick in the average number of nighttime crashes per day involving teen drivers during the 100 days. AAA Montana spokeswoman Michelle Donati says that directly correlates to summer break for high schoolers across the nation.

“Teens have more time on their hands and access to vehicles. Teens aren’t necessarily having to come home and go to sleep for school the next day. They might be able to stay out a little bit later," Donati said.

Another big contributor to these crashes is cell phone use in the car. There’s no state law banning teenagers from cell phone use in Montana, any rules are put into place on a city-by-city basis.

Donati says that’s one of the main reasons parents should educate themselves and their teens about the dangerous summer driving period.

“So, one of the things AAA recommends parents do is to make sure that they create a parent-teen driving agreement that establishes rules for teen drivers," she said. "And in that, they can address things like seat belt usage and nighttime curfew, passenger limitations.”

Another big factor according to the AAA study is speeding with 10% of all motor vehicle speed-related fatalities involving a teen driver and 29% of all vehicle crash deaths involving a teen were speed related.

Donati also says while teens are at higher risk, everyone on the road should be more aware this summer, "we want all drivers out there to be especially vigilant on the roadways by driving defensively by limiting your own distractions behind the wheel.”

Click here to read the full study from AAA.