Iowa parents and teen drivers are being reminded — and warned — about the typical increase in fatal crashes involving teens during the coming few months. Rose White, spokeswoman for Triple-A-Iowa, says this holiday weekend marks the start of what her organization refers to as the 100 deadliest days of summer for new drivers.
“In Iowa, the statistics are a little bit higher than the national average,” White says. “Looking at the period of 2009 through 2013, we show 39% of all teens that are killed during the course of the year are killed during that period of Memorial Day through Labor Day.” The Iowa DOT reports a total of 22 Iowa teens were killed in crashes last year statewide and ten of those deaths happened between the two holidays — so almost half.
A combination of factors can get the blame, she says, including the inexperience of a teen driver as well as all of the distractions of taking a drive during the summertime. “This time of year, we often see teens acquire their driver’s license, they’re very excited about having that new privilege,” White says. “We also know there’s a lot of social driving that takes place. They have a lot of free time on their hands. Many times, if they have passengers in their vehicle, those passengers can be a severe distraction to that novice driver.”
A motor club survey finds drivers who are 16 and 17 are involved in seven times as many crashes per mile driven as drivers in their 40s, 50s and 60s.