VIRGINIA BEACH – As June rolls in and the school year ends, most teens are thinking about how they will spend their summer vacation. Whether it is working or socializing with friends, teens will be on the road much more than during the school year. AAA Tidewater wants to remind parents that the long sunny days of summer can also hold some of the deadliest for teen drivers.

During 2020, Virginias had 72 fatalities that involved a teen driver ages 15-19, 30 of those deaths had occurred between Memorial Day and Labor Day, a little over the span of three months, according to DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles). Half of the deaths during the 100 deadliest days were teenagers, 15 fatalities out of the 30.

“There are more daily deaths in crashes involving teen drivers during the summer months than the rest of the year because teens tend to have more unstructured time behind the wheel," said Katharine Beachboard, Safety Advisor for AAA Tidewater Virginia. "So what can be done? This is a timely reminder for parents to be actively involved in their teen’s learning-to-drive process, understanding the risks and to be educated on their state’s teen driving law.”

AAA Tidewater Virginia offers a Free 60-minute AAA Dare to Prepare Virtual Workshop to teens and their parents/guardians to help get a better understanding of the driving process for the new driver, receive tips on traffic safety and have questions about the process answered by a AAA representative. This free workshop is available in the summer months. For more information please visit: AAA.com/teendriving

To keep teens safe during these dangerous months and year-round, AAA suggests the following tips for parents:

Eliminate trips without purpose. Limit teens’ driving to essential trips and only with parental permission for at least the first year of driving. Teens have three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers, based on the amount of miles driven. The risk is even higher, during the first year of solo driving.

Limit passengers. Crash rates increase with each additional teen passenger in the vehicle. In fact, fatal crash rates for 16- to 19-year-olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers are present versus when teens drive alone. Parents should establish passenger limits for their teen drivers. In Virginia only one teen passenger under the age of 21 (not including family members) is allowed during the first year of solo driving.

Restrict night driving. A teen driver’s risk of being involved in a deadly crash doubles at night. Many parents limit driving during the highest-risk late night hours ( between midnight and 5 am) but may want to consider limiting evening driving as well, as more than half of nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.

Teach your teens how to drive. Summer offers the perfect opportunity for teens to practice driving and to gain experience through parent-supervised driving practice. Parents can share their wisdom and experience accumulated over many years of driving. Even after a teen has a license that allows solo driving, parents and teens should continue to practice ‘commentary driving’ to help teens manage increasingly more complex and challenging driving conditions.

Establish a parent-teen driving agreement. Written agreements help set and enforce clear rules about night driving, passengers, access to the car, and more. AAA offers a parent-teen driving agreement on its teen driver safety website, http://teendriving.aaa.com/VA/. The website also provides a variety of additional tools and resources for parents and teens as they progress through the learning-to-drive process.

Be there. Make sure your teen knows that if they need help, advice, or a ride, they can count on you. Extend this offer often and let your teen know that you are always available, and encourage them to call you should they need your help.

As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 350,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding AAA Tidewater Virginia has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. For more information, visit AAA.com and follow us on Twitter at Twitter.com/AAATidewaterVA or Facebook at facebook.com/AAATidewaterVirginia.