CHARLOTTE, N.C. (October 17, 2016) – National Teen Driver Safety Week takes place this week, October 16-22. Car crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among teens. Over the past five years, teen drivers were involved in nearly 14,000 fatal crashes and motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens.
The National Governors Highway Safety Association recently release a report,Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter. The report revealed that teen-involved crash deaths increased dramatically in 2015, jumping to 10 percent. Additionally, the findings showed that teens are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than adults.
“The statistics regarding teen driving fatalities are alarming,” said Tiffany Wright, AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety President. “We urge parents to talk to their teens about safe driving, and encourage them to eliminate as many distractions behind the wheel, such as cell phone use. Disconnect and drive.”
Distracted driving has become a large contributing factor to many crashes involving teen drivers. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study earlier this year confirming that nearly 60 percent of teen crashes involved distractions behind the wheel. The research also finds a disturbing trend showing that texting and social media use are on the rise amongst teen drivers.
Along with distracted driving, there are several contributing factors to the increase in fatalities for teen drivers in 2015: the economy and low fuel prices could be a factor, not only in increasing the amount that young drivers drive, but moreover in increasing the proportion of young people who drive at all. The rise of fatal crashes involving teen drivers is alarming and should reinforce efforts by all stakeholders to identify solutions, including stronger laws, more consistent enforcement and new and innovative safety interventions.
Key Points for Parents
You play a critical role in your teen’s learning-to-drive process. Here are some important actions you can take at this stage.
- Evaluate your teen’s readiness. Talk with your teen about personal responsibility, ability to follow rules and any other concerns before beginning the learning-to-drive process.
- Get informed. A lot has changed since you earned your driver’s license. Graduated driver licensing (GDL), driver education, license restrictions and supervised practice driving are all part of today’s licensing process. And the state sets parameters throughout a multi-stage licensing process for young drivers, such as times of day they can drive and how many passengers they can carry.
- Start talking now. You have acquired “road wisdom” over the years – insight you’ll want to share, because it could save your teen from having to learn things the hard way. Talk about the learning-to-drive process:
- Be a good role model. Your teen has been watching your driving habits for the last decade or so. And as your teen begins the learning-to-drive process, that focus will likely increase. So, make changes in your driving to prevent any poor driving habits from being passed on. Show you take driving seriously.
TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season. The online AAAStartSmart 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.
Established by AAA in 1947, theAAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable research and educational organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 300 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they do occur.
AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2 million members and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.?