AAA: Next 100 days are deadliest for teen drivers

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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - For many students, school is out for the summer, and that means there are more teen drivers on the roads. A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety now refers to these summer months as the "100 Deadliest Days."

AAA spent 8 years, using dashboard cameras, to watch teen drivers 8 seconds before and 4 seconds after a crash.

"You need to be careful, you need to be responsible. Somebody can always speak up and be the voice of reason," said Mike Johnson, owner of Wichita Driving School.

The results, while shocking, did not surprise Johnson. He's been in driver's education since 1991 and opened his own school in 2003.

"What most parents would be shocked to see, the inside environment of teen car with teen passengers, there's just a lot of distractions," said Johnson.

During the next 100 days, from Memorial Day to Labor day, the number of people killed in crashes involving a teenager driver averages 10 a day. That's 16 percent higher than the rest of the year.

"When they drive, we teach them to disengage from social media and they have to put the phones down and put them out of sight," said Johnson.

AAA says 60 percent of teen crashes are because of distracted driving, but cell phones are not number one on the list. That top spot goes to passengers contributing to 15 percent of crashes, compared to 12 percent for cell phones.

"We tell all of our students, make sure you help other teen drivers out and make sure you demand the same from them, the passengers when you're driving," said Johnson. "Sriving a car is the most dangerous thing we do on a day to day basis."

So what can and should parents do? Johnson says to explain the dangers to your teen driver. Help them understand how to control the environment. Even have a contract with consequences for a crash or a ticket.

"Driving is your primary task, conversations shouldn't be, and if you're on social media, trying to stay connected, it will replace driving as your primary task," said Johnson.

AAA says nearly two thirds of the people injured or killed in crashes involving teenage drivers are not the teen drivers, but their passengers or people in other cars.

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