New teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash.
That's according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
"A lot of people might think, well I don't have a teen at home. This isn't an issue that affects me," said Amy Parmenter, AAA spokesperson. "But, we know from previous AAA research that the teen driver is not necessarily the one who's killed in these crashes, more often it's the passenger or other drivers."
AAA released the results of its study on Thursday to coincide with what it calls the "100 deadliest days" for teen drivers. It's the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when the average number of teen driver crashes climbs 15 percent compared to the rest of the year.
“Sadly, the new AAA research hits much too close to home given the recent tragedy in Manchester that police say involved a 17-year-old driver, claimed three young lives and impacted an entire community,” Parmenter said. “And now, as we head into the summer months, it is sobering to think that the risk of fatal crashes involving young, inexperienced drivers is even greater."
The cash in Manchester happened on May 20 along Route 44.
AAA said over the past five years, more than 1,600 people nationwide were killed in crashes involving inexperienced teen drivers during the 100 day period.
In Connecticut, the past five years have seen 36 people killed under the same circumstances.
According to University of Connecticut crash data, about a third of those crashes involved drivers between the ages of 16 or 17.
AAA recommended that parents of teen drivers discuss the dangers involved with speeding, distracted driving and not wearing a seat belt. They also warn that parents should lead by example when they're behind the wheel.
"Better that you regret to have the conversation than to regret that you didn't," Parmenter said. "We know parent engagement is key, it literally saves life."
David Bunsted of Georgia was in Connecticut on Thursday and said he has a 19-year-old son. He said he sets ground rules to help ensure his son stay safe.
"I think the public has done a good job with warning these kids and showing them the dangers of texting," Bunsted said. "I just pulled off here at this rest stop to check an email!"
Connecticut State Police said they are also reminding the public that nothing is more heartbreaking than for a trooper or police officer to have to knock on a family's door to tell them their child isn't coming home.
They're urging everyone to take their time getting from point to point, not to drink and drive and concentrate on the drive.
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