According to a study from USA Today it seems that our area back-to-school youth drivers are becoming the likely victims of fatal car accidents.

A startling number of traffic fatalities begin to occur at the end of summer when student drivers head back to school. In fact, from 2018 to 2021, August and September fatalities among 16 to 24-year-olds has increased by 8% across the United States. In some states, the increase in traffic fatalities was as high as a 325% increase.

Cities with the Most Accidents

Other key findings of the survey showed that only six states saw a decrease in fatal summertime crashes. In addition, speeding-related crashes ending in a fatality by 24% nationwide.

Credit: USA Today Blueprint / United States Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Credit: USA Today Blueprint / United States Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

How do Illinois Back-to-School Drivers Fare?

Illinois was one of the states that showed a significant increase in fatal accidents in August and September. The study looks at deaths between 2018 and 2021 based on the most recent data on fatal car crashes from the United States Department of Transportation. Illinois showed a 75% increase in the number of traffic fatalities involving teens and young adults across those late summer months. This puts Illinois at 3rd on the list for increased fatalities. Above them on the list was Massachusetts with a 325% increase and Washington at a 77% increase. Illinois also saw a 33% increase in total summertime driving fatalities since 2018. Illinois's rate of back-to-school deaths is at as many as 2.18 deaths per 10,000 drivers aged 16 to 24.

Just a Car Crash Away: Cities with the Most Accidents
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How about Wisconsin Back-to-School Drivers?

Wisconsin also made the list coming in at 8th on the list with a 47% increase from 2018 to 2021 in fatal accidents for that age category of 16 to 24 year-olds, when specifically looking at back-to-school months of August and September. Wisconsin's rate of back-to-school deaths is at as many as 2.29 deaths per 10,000 drivers aged 16 to 24.

Credit: Shutterstock

What about Iowa's Back-to-School Drivers?

Unfortunately, Iowa makes the list in another distinction as it currently holds the 6th highest rate of fatal crashes involving high school and college-age students during August and September of 2021. Key findings for Iowa include 46 back-to-school fatalities since 2018. Iowa's rate of back-to-school deaths is at as many as 4.03 deaths per 10,000 drivers aged 16 to 24.

Movie Set Takes Over Chicago's Michigan Avenue
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How can kids reduce their on-road risks?

  • Obey the rules of the road. Don't speed. Wear your seatbelts.
  • Avoid distracted driving by putting down the phone or mp3 player. Over 3,500 people were killed due to distracted driving in 2021, according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • Keep up on basic maintenance and vehicle repairs
  • Make sure your child is properly insured in the case of an accident
  • Take the emotion out of driving. Stressed, angry, or scared drivers have issues with increased risky behaviors, including frequent and intense acceleration and braking, driving at high speeds, and encroaching upon other lanes as you attempt to pass other cars.
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More information can be found at the United States Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. Data was compiled using the NHTSA’s Fatality and Injury Reporting System Tool (FIRST) FARS system.

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