• Teen Drivers A Danger To Everyone

The majority of people killed in crashes involving teen drivers are people other than the teens themselves, according to just-released findings from 10 years of crash data analyzed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AFTS).

The new analysis shows that young novice drivers comprise slightly more than one-third of all the fatalities in crashes in which they are involved; whereas nearly two-thirds of those killed are other vehicle users and pedestrians.

"This new data is a wake-up call for how critically important graduated drivers licensing (GDL) laws are across the country," says Brad Roeber, AAA Chicago Regional President. "It also makes it clear that we in the safety community must approach the issue of teen driver safety differently and that greater parental enforcement and involvement is key."

The analysis shows that between 1995 and 2004, crashes involving 15, 16, and 17 year old drivers claimed the lives of 30,917 people nationwide, of which 11,177 (36.2%) were the teen drivers themselves. The remaining 19,740 (63.6%) included 9,847 passengers of the teen drivers, 7,477 were occupants in vehicles operated by drivers who were at least 18 or older, 2,323 were non-motorists and 93 were unknown.

AAA also unveiled its new "Parent-to-Parent" contract to help foster as much teamwork and parental oversight as possible, especially during teens’ first year of independent driving. Among AAA’s recommendations is parental enforcement to not allow other young people to ride with a first-year, teen driver. This is especially difficult to control when other parents allow it and if that teen driver has younger siblings. But this study, along with decades of other traffic safety research shows conclusively that teen drivers are easily distracted and don’t have the experience to safely transport any passengers during their first year of driving.

"Parents who understand the risks recognize that it is important to keep teens from riding with other teens, even if it means playing ’chauffer’ for one more year," said Roeber. 

In addition, AAA and the AAA Foundation have released updates of two popular educational tools for parents, AAA’s "Teaching Your Teens to Drive" DVD and the AAA Foundation’s interactive, risk-management DVD, Driver-ZED(TM). For more information on these and other teen driver safety tools and how to get involved in contacting your legislator about GDL laws, go to http://www.aaa.com/ .

AFTS’ teen driver crash data analysis was conducted by analyzing data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System from 1995 through 2004.

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