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AAA Survey: Speeding One of Top Mistakes Made by Teen Drivers

Parental involvement is key to preventing deadly errors behind the wheel

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VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (November 1, 2016) - In the past five years, teen drivers were involved in nearly 14,000 fatal crashes, and more than 4,200 of those involved excessive speed.

This isn’t surprising to driving instructors, who, according to a new AAA survey, cited driving too fast as one of the top three mistakes teens make when hitting the road. Poor visual scanning and distraction also topped the list.

Sixty-five percent of the instructors also said parents are worse at preparing their teens for driving today than they were a decade ago. Parents and caregivers play a critical role in their teens’ learning-to-drive process and AAA cautions that their involvement is key to preventing deadly mistakes behind the wheel.

“We all know that the combination of inexperience and risk taking can be a deadly one,” said Georjeane Blumling, Vice President of Public Affairs for AAA Tidewater Virginia. “Parents need to understand the common mistakes teens are making and take the time to help their teens learn how to stay safer on the road when they are learning to drive.”

As an advocate for teen driver safety for more than 75 years, AAA continues to urge all states to adopt a three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) program – learner’s permit, intermediate/probationary license, full/unrestricted license – for novice drivers younger than 18. AAA also recommends that teens preparing to drive enroll in a driver education program that teaches distraction avoidance and other safety skills.

A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Association notes that fatal crash rates for older novice drivers (ages 18-20) has not decreased as much as it did for their younger (ages 15-17) counterparts, thus leading GHSA to call for an expansion of GDL to include drivers younger than 21. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety research suggests that GDL might improve safety for this older age group, but further research is needed to determine which provisions are the most effective. The Foundation currently is examining the specific scenarios in which older novice drivers most frequently crash during their first several months of licensed driving to gain insight into what risks could be addressed by extending existing GDL programs to older ages.  This research is scheduled to be released in early 2017.

Have Questions?

Resources to help parents choose a class and coach their teen through the learning-to-drive process can be found on AAA’s award-winning website.

As part of North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA Tidewater Virginia provides its more than 330,000 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 and follow us on Twitter at or on Facebook at

CST 1016202-80 Copyright © Tidewater Automobile Association of Virginia, Incorporated. All Rights Reserved.
AAA Tidewater Virginia is a member club affiliated with the American Automobile Association (AAA) national federation and serves members in the Tidewater Virginia region (All Hampton Roads cities, including Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg; Virginia's Eastern Shore; as well as the following counties: Greensville, Surry, Brunswick, Isle of Wight, Gloucester, Lancaster, Middlesex, Richmond County, Southampton, Sussex, Mecklenburg, James City County, York, Lunenburg, Essex, King & Queen, Mathews, Northumberland, and Westmoreland).