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AAA Carolinas: Back to School Means Heavier Traffic and More Teens Behind the Wheel

 CHARLOTTE, N.C. (August 21, 2019) – – As the new school year begins, AAA Carolinas wants to remind motorists about an increase of traffic on the roads and to be more cautious as more teens get behind the wheel.

“Leave a little earlier in the coming weeks for work as it always takes some time for traffic patterns to adjust to new schedules,” said Tiffany Wright AAA Carolinas spokesperson. “Exercise patience behind the wheel in order to avoid minor frustrations which can lead to road rage and put yourself and others at risk.”

Among the heavier traffic is teen drivers commuting to school, some for the first time.So far this year in North Carolina, there have been 87 teen driver fatalities reported, a 5% increase from this time last year.

“The several days of school still fall under the “100 Deadliest Days,” the period from Memorial Day to Labor Day when teens are most susceptible to a crash,” added Wright. “Driving to school is a big step for teens, and they will be excited. Some will be carpooling with other students. Parents, make sure your teens understand the responsibility that comes with driving to school.”

Car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, and nearly one in four fatal crashes involving teen drivers occurs during the after-school hours of 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.

AAA encourages parents to ensure their teens are prepared for dangers behind the wheel:

  •  Explain to your teen how to minimize distractions, such as eating, drinking, using navigation, chatting with a passenger or reaching for things in the car.
  •  NEVER allow your teen to use their phone while driving.
  •  Emphasize the importance of seat belt usage at all times – for the driver and their passengers.
  •  Remind teens of the importance of driving to the conditions of the road and always following the speed limit.
AAA urges motorists to follow these tips for sharing the road:
  •  Wait your turn: It is illegal to pass a school bus that is stopped to load or unload children. School buses use yellow flashing lights to alert motorists that they are preparing to stop. Red flashing lights and an extended stop sign arm also signal that children are getting on or off the bus.
  •  Don’t Drive Distracted: Dangerous practices behind the wheel, like eating, grooming, texting and talking on the phone, take a driver’s eyes off the road and can have devastating consequences. AAA encourages all motorists to put down their mobile devices- Disconnect and Drive.
  •  Check the medians: Traffic in both directions must stop on undivided roadways when students are entering or exiting a school bus. On a divided roadway, traffic behind the school bus must stop.
  •  Extra room: The area 10 feet around a school bus is where children are in the most danger of getting hit. Stop your car far enough from the bus to allow children the necessary space to safely enter and exit the bus.
  •  Slow down: During busy weekday commutes, remember to slow down, allow for extra commute time and avoid driving distracted on your way to and from work. Keep in mind that fines are doubled in school zones when signs are present.
  •  Don’t cross the line: Drivers should not block the crosswalk when stopped at a red light or waiting to make a turn. Leave pedestrians with plenty of room to cross safely.
Fatalities that occur while getting on and off the bus are three times greater than those that occur while riding the bus.  Approximately 100 children in the United States are killed every year while walking to or from school and another 25,000 sustain injuries as a result of school zone collisions.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2.2 million member and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
For more information on this press release, please contact:

Public Relations Manager
Tiffany Wright
tmwright@aaacarolinas.com
Work : 704-737-8306
Cell : 704-569-7768