‘100 Deadliest Days’ not limited to teen drivers, AAA says

AAA warns drivers to practice safe driving while the '100 Deadliest Days' approach.
AAA warns drivers to practice safe driving while the '100 Deadliest Days' approach.(Steve Helber | AP)
Published: May. 31, 2022 at 3:03 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The ‘100 Deadliest Days’ are approaching, and everyone is at a greater risk this summer as there has been a sharp increase in roadway fatalities.

According to AAA, federal statistics show that traffic fatalities involving drivers of all ages has reached a 16-year high in 2021, increasing more than 10% over 2020. In addition, crash data suggest this year may be significantly worse, so heading into the summer months, safety messaging needs to be broad.

“Speeding is up, seat belt use is down, and driver impairment and multiple other factors contributed to more than 42,000 traffic fatalities last year – an increase of more than 10% over 2020,” said Mike Belcuore, manager of AAA Driver Education. “We know that fatal crashes involving teen drivers nearly double in summer months as compared to the rest of the year, but this summer, AAA is concerned that the ‘deadliest days’ may refer to increased risk for everyone.”

According to preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were almost 12,000 deaths in June, July and August of last year on U.S. roadways. More than half of these killed someone other than the driver, including 1,600 pedestrians.

AAA encourages drivers to consider what they can do to reverse the upward trend of traffic fatalities.

“Teen drivers spend more time behind the wheel in summer months, and they certainly have less experience than those who have been driving for years,” said Belcuore. “But these troubling statistics indicate that whatever experience more seasoned drivers gained over time has been lost over the pandemic, with tragic outcomes.”

A recent survey conducted by AAA found that many Ohio residents plan to travel this summer. 42% have planned multiple trips and a great majority are going to be driving to their destination. It is important everyone do their part to ensure the roadways are as safe as possible.

AAA seven tips to reduce roadways risks:

1. Slow Down- Speeding is the number one factor contributing to the increase in roadway fatalities.

2. Buckle Up- There has been a sharp increase in unrestrained occupant deaths and ejections since the pandemic, remember to buckle up.

3. Don’t Drive Impaired- NHTSA statistics show that alcohol was involved in about 20% of all fatal crashes in the summer months. Public health researchers indicate that fatal crashes involving cannabis are on the rise as well.

4. Drive Defensively- Driving defensively can increase the time you have to react when another driver is out of control.

5. Limit distractions- NHTSA statistics show distracted driving account for about 8% of fatal crashes, but distracted driving in assumed to be highly underreported. Put down the phone and give full attention to the task of driving.

6. Look out for pedestrians and cyclists- Pedestrian deaths have increased by almost 15% from 2020 to 2021, claiming more than 7,000 lives. The number of cyclists killed increased 5%, with almost 1,000 lives lost.

7. Talk to your teens and model best behaviors- Between 2011 t0 2020, more than 30% of fatal crashes involving drivers ages 15 to 18 occurred in the summer months as compared to the rest of the year.

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