Statewide Iowa – Memorial Day weekend marked the unofficial start of summer and a dangerous time of year for young drivers. Nationwide, more than 30 percent of deaths involving teen drivers occur during what’s called the “100 Deadliest Days” – a period that runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
For every mile driven, new teen drivers (ages 16-17 years old) are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to adults. As school lets out for summer, these inexperienced teen drivers will have more time to spend on the road. That means more time driving at night and potentially engaging in risky behaviors like speeding, texting, or simply sharing the vehicle with teen passengers. The risk gets even greater when you add more vehicles on the road.
According to Meredith Mitts, a spokeswoman for the AAA Minnesota-Iowa: The Auto Club Group, this summer is expecting to be even more dangerous for teen drivers as the 100 Deadliest Days coincides with a predicted busier summer driving season than last year. She also stated that the AAA expects two years’ worth of restrained travel demand to be unleashed in the coming months. That means more traffic on our roadways, which raises the crash risk, particularly for young, inexperienced drivers.
Each year an average of 2,063 teen drivers are involved in fatal crashes; 642 of those (31%) occurred during the 100 deadliest days.
More than 7,124 people died in teen-related summertime crashes from 2011 to 2020.
That’s more than seven people a day each summer compared to the rest of the year (six people/day).
An average of 9 teen drivers are involved in fatal crashes between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends.
Every year, an average total of 29 people are killed in teen driver-related crashes. More than a third of those fatalities (34% or 10 deaths) occur during the 100 deadliest days.
During the past 10 summers, 291 people have died in teen driver-related crashes.