100 “Deadliest Days” for Teen Drivers is Underway
By Larry Bodine, Editor in Chief
Thanks to teenager drivers, we are driving during the “100 Deadliest Days” between Memorial Day and Labor Day, according to a new report released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
An average of 220 teen drivers and passengers died in traffic crashes during each of the summer months of 2013, a 43 percent increase compared to the rest of the year.
Nearly 1,000 people in the U.S. were killed in crashes involving teen drivers just during the summer of 2012.
In 2013 alone, 371,645 people were injured and 2,927 were killed in crashes that involved a teen driver.
The AAA also found that about 2/3 of people killed in crashes involving teen drivers, are people other than the young person themselves.
Teen crash rates highest
“Teen crash rates are higher than any other age group, and this data confirm that the impact of their crashes extend well beyond the teen who is behind the wheel,” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
The most dangerous drivers are 18-year olds, who were in more crashes than teens aged 17 or 16.
The study analyzed 20 years of data about police-reported crashes of drivers aged 15-19, from 1994-2013 and found that:
While the overall number of teen crashes are down, the majority of people killed (66%) and injured (67%) in crashes involving a teen driver are people other than the teen themselves
Nearly 50 percent of those injured were in another vehicle; 17 percent were in the teen driver’s car; and 2 percent were non-motorists (i.e., pedestrian, bicyclist)
Nearly 30 percent of those killed were in another car, 27 percent were the teen’s passenger and ten percent were non-motorists (i.e., pedestrians, bicyclist)
Graduated drivers licensing laws
“Everyone has an incentive to keep teen drivers safe during the summer—and all year long—because it makes roads safer for everyone,” says Jennifer Ryan, AAA Director of State Relations. “Insightful data from this research help to inform parents and policymakers who can push legislation that results in an impactful difference.”
Over the last 20 years, the number of teen drivers involved in crashes has decreased dramatically, thanks to graduated drivers licensing (GDL) laws and quality driver education programs. Increasing unemployment (i.e., less of a need to drive) and high gasoline prices also reduced teen crashes. Additional data from this study point to the drop in overall crash rates for teen drivers that can be attributed to strong GDL legislation as well as other factors including rising gas prices and the economy.
“While great strides have been made to improve the safety of teen drivers over the past 20 years, motor vehicle crashes still remain the leading cause of death for drivers aged 15-19, so advocating on behalf of teen driver safety remains a top priority for AAA,” said Ryan.
Tools to help parents can be found on AAA’s website TeenDriving.AAA.com.