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IIHS News | September 3, 1998Subscribe

Summertime means more car crash deaths among teenagers, especially 16 year-olds

ARLINGTON, Va. — As predictable as summer sun is the tragic increase in crashes that kill 16-year-old drivers and their peers. This summer has been no exception. From Seattle to the rural roads of Georgia, 16-year-old drivers are crashing and killing themselves, their friends, and motorists in other vehicles. A widely publicized collision in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., in July, for example, involved a car flipping onto a truck and killing three people. A few days later, three more Maryland teens died when they crashed into a tree.

The numbers confirm that crashes like these do increase during summer months. Nationwide, about 38 percent more deaths of teenage drivers occur during June-August than during the preceding three months.

16-year-old driver deaths, 1992-96
 Number of deathsPercent distribution
January1516
February1526
March1637
April1607
May1808
June23610
July22910
August23710
September2079
October2189
November2079
December2009

"Many of these crashes share predictable characteristics," Institute senior vice preisdent Allan Williams points out. "Speeding often is a factor. The teenagers aren't using safety belts. The crashes occur mostly at night, with a car full of other teenagers accompanying the brand new driver."

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