CHARLOTTE, N.C. (March 7, 2019) – As college students embark on spring break trips and grade schoolers gear up to follow their lead, AAA Carolinas urges all travelers to be prepared and travel safely.
In 2017, there were 152 teen car crash fatalities in North Carolina and in South Carolina, there were 46.
The biggest concerns on the road include distracted driving, impaired driving, drowsy driving and recklessness.
Nationwide, approximately 58.5 percent of teen crashes are the direct result of some form of distracted behavior such as attending to passengers or cell phone use. In a 2015 survey of drivers sponsored by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, nearly 70 percent of drivers ages 16-18 reported they had talked on a cell phone, 42 percent had read a text or e-mail and 32 percent had typed/texted while driving in the past 30 days. In North Carolina, there were 119 fatal crashes resulting from distracted driving in 2016. To date, there have been 93 so far in 2017. In South Carolina, there have been 13,872 collisions as a result of distracted driving in 2017 resulting in 38 fatalities.
Close to 25 percent of fatal teen crashes nationwide were due to alcohol in 2016. Twenty percent of traffic fatalities for 18 and 19 year-olds were due to driving with a BAC over .01 – despite being underage. In North Carolina there were 610 fatalities as a result of impaired driving in 2016, with 364 of those resulting from alcohol, 157 from distracted driving and 89 from driving under the influence of drugs, according to the NCDOT.
One in five fatal crashes on U.S. roadways each year are a result of drowsy driving and missing just one hour of sleep can double your crash risk. Not knowing you are tired may be the most dangerous aspect of drowsy driving. More than half of drivers involved in fatigue-related crashes experienced no symptoms before falling asleep behind the wheel. AAA Carolinas urges drivers to not rely on their bodies to provide the warning signs of fatigue, but rather to always get the recommended sleep.
This spring break, please remind your teens to adhere to the following tips:
- Never drive distracted. Secure phones and other devices before the road trip begins. Designate a passenger to handle the directions.
- Be a defensive driver. Understand that there are many other excited spring breakers on the roads who may not be exercising their best judgement. Be prepared for sudden stops.
- Avoid drowsiness behind the wheel. Take turns driving with the other passengers and include frequent stops to keep your mind awake and aware.
- Be a respectful passenger. Allow the driver to maintain full focus on the road ahead. Avoid loud music and distracting behavior.
- Always wear a seatbelt. Seatbelts save lives – make sure everyone in the vehicle has theirs on at all times.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2.1 million member and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
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