JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Leaders with AAA said Mississippi leads the nation with the most teen driver-related fatal crashes per capita during the summer.

According to the organization, nearly 40 percent of Mississippi’s teen driver fatal crashes in 2020 occurred during the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Nationwide, 7,124 people died in teen driver-related summertime crashes from 2011 to 2020.

“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 AAA spokesperson Don Redman. “Parents should encourage teens to double down on staying focused when driving, buckling up for every ride, and driving within posted speed limits.”

Teen Driving-Related Crash Fatalities by State

StateDeaths in Crashes Involving Teen Drivers During 100 Deadliest Days, 2011-2020Deaths in Crashes Involving Teen Drivers Rest of the Year 2011-2020Per Capita Deaths in Crashes Involving Teen Drivers, 2020Per Capita Rank, 2020
(50 States and DC)
Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

As teens take to the road this summer, AAA recommends that parents model safe driving behaviors and help ensure their teens practice them too.

According to AAA, here are some of the causes of the fatal crashes:

  • Distraction: Distraction plays a role in nearly six out of 10 teen crashes, four times as many as official estimates based on police reports. The top distractions for teens include talking to other passengers in the vehicle and interacting with a smartphone.
  • Not Buckling Up: In research published in 2015, 60 percent of teen drivers killed in a crash were not wearing a safety belt.
  • Speeding: Speeding is a factor in nearly 30 percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers. A previous AAA survey of driving instructors found that speeding is one of the top three mistakes teens make when learning to drive.