KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee has an average of 19 fatal crashes involving teen drivers during the time period of what the AAA calls the “100 Deadliest Days.” 30 percent of the overall crashes are nationwide.
Jeff Bagwell, the spokesperson for Rural Metro Fire, describes how these types of crashes can have a lasting impact on first responders.
“You have the adrenaline that takes hold. your training takes hold, it’s pretty simple to follow that regimented approach on how you treat that incident,” Bagwell said. “It’s not until afterward that you begin to think about this young person that is maybe 15, 16, 17 years old and how their life may now be changed.”
According to AAA, speeding is a factor in close to 30 percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers.
“Understand that the most important thing that you can do is get from where you are to where you want to go,” Bagwell said. “You don’t have to get there at 85 miles an hour. You can get there at 35 and 55 whatever the speed limit is for the road.”
AAA says distracted driving also plays a role in nearly 6 out of 10 teen crashes.
“A lot of young people now have phones that sync with their cars so that helps in the sense of having distractions inside of the vehicles,” Bagwell said. “It’s not just distractions from electronic devices, its distraction from other kids.”
He emphasizes the importance of wearing a seatbelt as well.
“I would say out of 38 years in this business I might of unbuckled one seatbelt of a dead person,” Bagwell said. “Every other time a seat belt would of helped them.”
Tennessee also ranks 38th in the nation for teen fatalities during the summer, a study from Bumper.com.