Teen driving deaths are down, but danger lurks

Posted October 21, 2017

Despite their confidence in their driving capabilities, a clear majority of teens have experienced worries or concerns about driving, with almost three in four teen drivers (72 percent) having felt unsafe on the road at some point. These rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted and drowsy driving, speeding, and number of passengers.

To help encourage teens and their families to buckle up, the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) has teamed up with the NHTSA and NSC to once again invite teens to the "Seat Belts Save Challenge", which is created to encourage increased seat belt use among teens. "However, everyday behaviors become lethal when a new inexperienced driver chooses to engage in them behind the wheel-talking to friends, putting on makeup, texting, selfies, or social media posts are just some of the activities that are perfectly safe and legal to do, until you choose to do them behind the wheel", said Dr. Kelly Browning, Executive Director of Impact Teen Drivers.

"The extraordinarily high teen crash rates are unacceptable and it is our core mission to save lives", says Charlie Klauer, a research scientist and the leader of the Teen Risk and Injury Prevention Group at Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that nationwide in 2015, 1,972 drivers, age 15-18, were involved in fatal collision, resulting in 1,730 teen deaths nationwide. If you have teenagers, that anxiety can rise even more, especially when they start to drive.

"Just because they do get a full-fledged drivers license and make it through driver's ed, it doesn't mean that they shouldn't continue to practice with an adult or someone supervising them to help continue that education", he said. The latest results from State Farm show that the number of IN teens involved IN fatal vehicle crashes has gone down 30% between 2005 and 2015.

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Michelin's "Coaching Your Teen Driver" handbook (available at www.michelinman.com/SharingSafety) is created to provide practical advice with the goal of making young drivers more game ready.

"As parents, we play a critical role in coaching our teens to be safe drivers".

Stick to the speed limit. Not surprisingly, the study found that more than half of teen drivers (57 percent) would prefer to learn driving skills from someone other than their own parents. "We need parents to set the rules before their teens hit the road", added Martinez.

AAA is offering tips for parents of teen drivers during National Teen Driver Safety Week, as vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among teens.