Mississippi leads the nation in summer teenage driver deaths per capita

A new study by the American Automobile Association shows that Mississippi has more summertime teenage driver deaths per capita than any other state.
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 10:55 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - A new study by the American Automobile Association (AAA) shows that Mississippi has more teenage driver deaths per capita during the summer months than any other state.

According to AAA, nearly 40% of Mississippi’s teen-driver fatal crashes in 2020 occurred from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers. In addition, nearly 30% of Mississippi’s teen fatal crashes over the past decade have been during this period as well.

This data is concerning for mothers of teen drivers like Kristyn Edmonds.

“I would expect a much larger state to have that number and not Mississippi,” said Edmonds. “For it to happen to a teenager is doubly worse because you’re losing children, and as a parent, that’s the worst phone call you could ever get.”

AAA studies showed that 60% of these fatal teen-driver crashes included a distracted driver.

“The number one distraction for teens are teenage passengers,” said Donald Redman, public affairs specialist with AAA. “(Passengers) are the biggest distraction. That’s why we always encourage parents to limit the number of teen passengers with a teen driver, but second behind that is the smartphone.”

Redman said that using phones, speeding and not using a seatbelt are all learned behaviors. He urges all parents to set an example for their children.

“I’ve tried to do my very best with both of my children to make sure that they’re driving as safely as possible while they’re on the road,” said Edmonds. “I do worry as a parent, especially with my older one because she’s in college now and she’s away from home a lot more.”

Nationwide, 7,124 people died in teen-driver summertime crashes from 2011 to 2020.

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