According to the American Automobile Association, nearly two individuals are killed for every teen driver killed. In the report, “Teen Crashes–Everyone is at Risk,” the two individuals refer to teen drivers’ passengers, drivers and passengers of other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
AAA analyzed data from crashes between 1998 and 2007, which showed that 24,655 drivers age 15-17 were involved in fatal crashes. In these crashes almost two-thirds took the lives of someone other than the teen driver.
When the AAA broke this number down further, they found the following:
- 37 percent of people killed in young driver crashes were the young drivers themselves,
- 31 percent were passengers of young drivers,
- 24 percent were occupants of other vehicles, and
- Seven percent were non-motorists.
The good news is that the total number of people killed in crashes involving teen drivers decreased by 27 percent in the nine years covering the study. The somewhat shocking news is that they also found that since teen driver deaths have declined in recent years, there has been a large drop in deaths of other road users.
What does this mean?
Inexperience is the largest factor of teen driving deaths. Everyone can benefit from improvements to, and awareness of teen driving crash risks.
According to the AAA, “parents in states with weak passenger restrictions (which are part of GDL laws) should not allow their teen to ride with other teen drivers, and should not allow them to transport other teens in the first year of driving.” This is due largely to the fact that inexperience is the underlying factor of most teen car crashes.
Car crashes are the number one killer of teens, age 15 to 19. With increased awareness from reports like “Teen Crashes–Everyone is at Risk”, tougher graduated driver license laws, parent involvement and peer-to-peer programs, like Teens in the Driver Seat, we can lower the number of fatalities that are the result of teen crashes.
To read the full text of the report, check out The American Automobile Association.