New teen drivers three times as likely to be involved in deadly crash


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AAA is releasing alarming new research as the “100 Deadliest Days” begin, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when the average number of deadly teen driver crashes climb 15 percent compared to the rest of the year. Over the past five years, more than 1,600 people were killed in crashes involving inexperienced teen drivers during this deadly period.

New teen drivers ages 16-17 years old are three times more likely than adults to be involved in a deadly crash, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s latest study, Rates of Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries, and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age. The study analyzes crash rates per mile driven for all drivers and found that for every mile on the road, drivers ages 16-17 years old are:

– 3.9 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a crash

– 2.6 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a fatal crash

– 4.5 times as likely as drivers 30-59 to be involved in a crash

– 3.2 times as likely as drivers 30-59 to be involved in a fatal crash

“Teen driving is risky business, and AAA urges parents to be actively involved in their teen’s learning to drive process,” says Theresa Podguski, AAA East Central’s Director of Legislative Affairs and Safety. “Parents should model good behavior while driving and also talk to their teen about distractions, speeding, and wearing a safety belt.”

Fatal teen crashes are on the rise. The number of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes increased more than 10 percent from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2015 crash data, the latest data available. To reverse this alarming trend, AAA urges parents to help reduce the number of deadly crashes on the road by getting more involved and talking to their teens about the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel.

Three factors that commonly result in deadly crashes for teen drivers are:

Distraction: Distraction plays a role in nearly six out of 10 teen crashes, four times as many as official estimates based on police reports. The top distractions for teens include talking to other passengers in the vehicle and interacting with a smart phone.

Not Buckling Up: In 2015, the latest data available, 60 percent of teen drivers killed in a crash were not wearing a safety belt. Teens who buckle up significantly reduce their risk of dying or being seriously injured in a crash.

Speeding: Speeding is a factor in nearly 30 percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers. A recent AAA survey of driving instructors found that speeding is one of the top three mistakes teens make when learning to drive.

To keep roads safer this summer, AAA encourages parents to:

– Have conversations with their teens early and often about distraction and speeding.

– Teach by example and minimize risky behavior when driving.

– Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.

TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season. The online AAA StartSmart program also offers great resources for parents on how to become effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges. Teens preparing for the responsibility of driving should enroll in a driver education program that teaches how to avoid driver distraction and other safety skills.

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.

AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 81 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. Past news releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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