AAA: '100 Deadliest Days' for teen drivers fall between Memorial, Labor days

INDEPENDENCE, OH (WOIO) - As school wraps up for the summer, more teens hit the road and cause more car crashes.

AAA said research shows the 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day. They expect teenage driver deaths to spike by 15 percent this summer.

Ava Edelman has spent all spring practicing for the day she turns 16 and gets her driver's license.

"Yeah, I'm so excited," she said.

She will be one of thousands of teens on the road. It's a thought her mom, Kathryn Edelman, sometimes worries about.

"It's our job as parents to remind them that they're not invincible," Kathryn Edelman said.

However, AAA said many teens might think nothing bad can happen to them, even while they're driving. Over the past five years, more than 1,600 people were killed because of inexperienced drivers during AAA's 100 Deadliest Days.

"They're three times more likely to be in a crash during that period of time," said AAA Safety Adviser Lori Cook.

Cook said too many teens are distracted, don't wear seat belts and speed.

"Sixty percent of teens killed in crashes weren't wearing a seat belt. Just think of how many lives we could save if we got them to buckle up," Cook said.

New teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 are three times more likely than adults to be involved in a deadly crash.

Overbeke School of Driving owner Ari Klarfeld said it's important parents help their teens get as much time behind the wheel as possible.

"The more driving you get, the more experience you get, the safer you are," Klarfeld said.

Not only does Kathryn help Ava practice driving, she said they talk about the dangers of driving a car.

"We talk about the potential for accidents, how scary and how serious it is that you are operating this huge piece of equipment and that it's life and death," she said. "Even if you think it's, 'Oh, one thing, one word, one Snapchat,' you can't take the chance."

They're mistakes Ava sees people make all the time.

"People texting and driving, jamming and blasting music really loud and not really being aware of sirens and not seeing yellow lights and not coming to complete stops when there's a red light," Ava said.

As she gets ready to hit the road on her own, she's following the rules to hopefully keep herself, and other drivers, safe.

AAA created a StartSmart program they hope parents use to help prepare their teens for the summer driving season. It explains how parents can be effective in-car coaches and it offers advice on how to manage a teen's overall driving privileges.

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