Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a new report authored by Pam Shadel Fischer and Dr. Jim Hedlund, a former NHTSA official, analyzing 20 years of Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data found that fatal crashes involving a young driver (15-20 years of age) fell 38%, while they increased nearly 8% for drivers 21 and older. At the same time, deaths of young drivers fell 45%, compared to an 11% increase in fatalities for older drivers. Yes, young people are less likely to drive today than they were 20 years ago, but this accounts for only a small portion of the large decreases.
What’s driving these declines? Graduated driving licensing, parental involvement, driver education and training, impactful peer-to-peer programs, and vehicle technology and teen-specific apps. In discussing peer-to-peer programs, authors called out the Teens in the Driver Seat program (see page 23 of the report) and the positive impact it has had.
In addition to discussing what has been driving the gains in young driver safety, the report also calls on the states to build on these proven countermeasures and add another — incorporate technology (including electric vehicles) and driver responsibility into education. As vehicle technology continues to evolve, ensuring that our youngest and riskiest drivers understand it and use it correctly is critical. GHSA recommends that more information on vehicle safety features be incorporated into driver education programs, along with guidance on driving EVs. These education efforts should also focus on the safety of people walking, biking or scooting, so that novice drivers understand their role in protecting everyone on the road.
The text above was from an email from Pam Fischer along with this encouragement: “I’m a huge fan of your program and urge you and your partners to keep up the good work!”
The YTS program is grateful for this recognition and attributes our partners, schools, and advocates for the overall decline. Let’s all keep up the great work!