May 20 is deadliest day for American teen drivers

Texting while driving is the biggest distraction behind the wheel for American teens.  The Allstate Foundation’s recent survey showed that 82% of teens report using cell phones while driving, while only 23% admit to drinking and driving.  And according to data collected by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more teenagers die on May 20 than any other day of the year.

Over the past five years, May 20 claimed 63% more lives than any average day.

“There are a couple of reasons,” said Nicole Alley of The Allstate Foundation. “One of which is prom and graduation season. We’re on the cusp on summer vacation. You do have teens going to a lot of celebrations and they’re out later at night,”

More teens die in traffic-related crashes in the summer.  On an average day, 9 teens are killed on the road, compared to the average 15 young drivers over the summer.  Teen drivers are usually accompanied by friends of the same age.  The report shows that more than 60 percent of teen passenger deaths occur in vehicles driven by another teen.

The Allstate Foundation surveyed 1,063 teen drivers to study the state of their driving habits.  It looks like girls are more likely to be distracted by their cell phone than boys.  The results showed that 51% of girls are likely to use a cell phone to talk, text or email while driving, versus 38% of boys.

While they are not always feeling safe with their friends driving, teens do not tend to speak up.  77% of teens admit they have felt unsafe with another teen’s driving, buy only 59% of teens will speak up if they are scared or uncomfortable as a passenger.  They list fear of being rejected or ignored by their peers for their reason to keep quiet.

With these results in hand, Allstate encourages all parents to sign a driver contract with their teens to set rules and guidelines for safer driving practices.

Source: Fox 4 KC, May 20, 2010

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