Is your licensed driver actually ready to hit the road in New Jersey?
All New Jersey drivers are in the thick of the 100 deadly days of summer, according to road safety advocates.
But with school out, and looser curfews at night, there's an even sharper focus this time of year on keeping teenage drivers and their passengers alive.
According to an analysis by Bumper.com, which looked at crash statistics nationwide over a three-year period, nearly 42% of teen driver fatalities in New Jersey occur between the months of June and September. July comes in as the deadliest month for New Jersey teen drivers.
The Garden State records of a rate of 2.56 teen driver deaths per 10,000 licensed teen drivers, according to the analysis.
Seventy-five drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2021 were under the age of 21, including 19 drivers under the age of 18, according to the latest data from the New Jersey State Police.
"Experience is very key when it comes to this issue, simply because teens don't have it," said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "They haven't driven in every situation."
And safety, Noble said, isn't always a young driver's priority.
"They unfortunately still think that they are invincible at this age," she said.
Noble said parents are "truly the first line of defense" against unfortunate scenarios for teens behind the wheel. Parents, she said, can still get their teens to practice driving after they're licensed.
AAA is pushing for New Jersey to join nearly every other state in requiring dozens of supervised driving hours before a new driver can earn a license. There's a bill that would require 50 supervised hours behind the wheel, including 10 hours when the sun is down, with a member of the teen's family or other adult.
Beyond practice time, Noble said, parents can model positive driver behavior for their kids.
"Teach by example," she said. "When you are behind the wheel with your children, put your phone down, reduce your speed to the speed limit, don't engage in aggressive behavior, and drive sober."