One third of fatalities involve teens

Teenagers Involved in One Third of Fatal Automobile Crashes

About one third of the people killed in automobile crashes involving the nation’s youngest drivers were pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles, according to a recent report. An analysis of federal crash statistics by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly 31,000 people were killed in crashes involving drivers between the ages of 15 and 17 between 1995 and 2004. The foundation said it was surprised to learn that one-third of those deaths involved pedestrians and people in other vehicles.

Safe Driving Lesson Learned

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, on the basis of miles driven, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as are all drivers. Why do young drivers have such poor driving performance?

Three factors work together to make the teen years so deadly for young drivers:

  • Inexperience
  • Risk-taking behavior and immaturity
  • Greater risk exposure

With graduated driver licensing, new drivers typically go through a three-stage process that involves their gradual introduction to full driving privileges. By restricting when teenagers may drive, and with whom, graduated driver licensing allows new drivers to gain much-needed on-the-road experience in controlled, lower-risk settings. It also means that a teenager will be a little older and more mature when he or she gains a full, unrestricted license. After the young driver demonstrates responsible driving behavior, restrictions are systematically lifted until the driver “graduates” to full driving privileges.

This post is an excerpt from a recent edition of the Safe Driving Teen Monthly Bulletin. Each month the National Safety Commission publishes the bulletin for teens and parents designed to improve teen driver behavior, attitude, skills, and experience. Subscription Details