The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety recently released a new long-term study showing that teen drivers are more of a danger to other motorists than themselves. The report was released right before the “100 Deadliest Days” began—the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day when teen crash fatalities are at their highest. The study offers important information to help both teens and other drivers stay safer on the road and prevent wrecks.
Key Findings of the Study
The AAA study analyzed data from police-reported crashes of teen drivers aged 15 to 19 from 1994 to 2013. The study reviewed the results for the teen drivers and their passengers, the driver and passengers in other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. The study found both good and bad news about teen drivers including:
- The number of people injured in teen crashes declined by 51 percent.
- The number of people killed in teen crashes declined by 56 percent.
- Nearly 50 percent of people injured in teen crashes were in another vehicle while only 17 percent were in the teen’s vehicle.
- Nearly 30 percent of people killed in teen crashes were in another vehicle while 27 percent were in the teen’s vehicle.
The majority of declines in fatalities and injuries occurred between 2004 and 2013. While AAA is not certain why deaths and injuries have declined, it believes state driving programs for teens may have contributed to this. In addition, both higher gas prices and the recession in 2008 have resulted in fewer teens driving in general.
While it is encouraging that teen driver injuries and fatalities are dropping, there is still room for improvement, especially during the summer months when teens and other drivers are at the most risk. According to AAA, car crashes remain the number one cause of death for teens aged 15 to 19. To help keep teens and others safe, parents need to be good in-car coaches and manage their teens’ driving privileges.