Summer is the deadliest time of year for teen drivers and, as Americans hit the road this Memorial Day holiday, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), is launching a new video, Teen Driving in America: A Look Behind the Wheel, to raise awareness about the increased risks teen drivers face each summer.
"State departments of transportation are in the business of building and maintaining the nation's transportation infrastructure," said John Horsley, AASHTO executive director. "It's up to each individual driver to use these systems safely, however. Hopefully, videos like this one can help young drivers and their parents learn the facts and locate resources to keep everyone safe."
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 422 teens die in traffic crashes during each of the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day, as compared to a monthly average of 363 teen deaths during the non-summer months.
One factor behind the statistics is the desire of teens to stay connected by texting. A new survey, released this month by AT&T as part of the "It Can Wait" campaign, indicates that 97 percent of teens know texting while driving is dangerous, 43 percent of them admit to sending a text while driving, and 75 percent say the practice is common among their friends.
In the AASHTO video, the parents of 16-year-old Virginia native Hunter Garner discuss his death in the summer of 2007. Garner was a passenger in a car driven by another teen. National Organizations for Youth Safety Executive Director Sandy Spavone explains how her organization is empowering youth to reduce fatal teen crashes and Robert Sumwalt, National Transportation Safety Board member, tells viewers why teen driving is on the NTSB's "Top Ten Most Wanted List."
"We hope school officials, drivers education instructors, and parents will use this video to increase awareness about the consequences of risky behavior behind the wheel," said Horsley. "As we see from the statistics, summer is an especially dangerous time; however, we need to keep repeating this message, over and over again, throughout the year."
Click the following link to watch: Teen Driving in America: A Look Behind the Wheel