Teen drivers increase the risk of a deadly crash for everyone on the roadway, especially if they bring teen passengers along for the ride. New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that in 2016, when a teen driver had only teen passengers in their vehicle, the fatality rate for all people involved in a crash increased 51 percent. In contrast, when older passengers (35 or older) rode with a teen driver, overall fatality rates in crashes decreased eight percent.
Considering the increased risk created by a combination of teen drivers and teen passengers, AAA emphasizes the need for teen drivers to gain adequate supervised training, especially in different driving scenarios, before taking what could be a fatal drive.
In 2016, teen drivers were involved in more than 1 million police- reported crashes resulting in more than 3,200 deaths. Researchers pinpointed that when teens were carrying teen passengers, fatality rates jumped:
• 56 percent for occupants of other vehicles
• 45 percent for the teen driver
• 17 percent for pedestrians and cyclists
“This analysis shows that in crashes where teen drivers are behind the wheel with a teen passenger, a larger portion of those killed are other road users,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
“This study also found the fatality rate of a teen-driver related crash increased when factors like speeding or driving at night, were introduced.” “Teens gain valuable experience when they can practice driving in a variety of scenarios,” said Gene La- Doucer, North Dakota spokesman for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “By taking an active role in a teen’s learning-to-drive experience, parents are uniquely positioned to reinforce safe driving habits and smart decision-making behind the wheel.”
According to North Dakota crash data, teens are greatly overrepresented in crashes – the leading cause of injury-related death for teens in the state. While they currently make up 5 percent of licensed drivers in the state, teens were involved in nearly 20 percent of all crashes and 12 percent of fatal crashes in 2017.
“AAA supports the Vision Zero strategy of zero motor vehicle fatalities and serious injuries on North Dakota roads,” said Gene LaDoucer, North Dakota spokesman for AAA-The Auto Club Group. “ By understanding the factors related to teen crashes and taking appropriate actions, we can eliminate fatalities involving our youngest, most inexperienced drivers.”
Supervised driving – with parents in the passenger seat as the coach — is the first step to teaching teens how to become responsible and safe drivers. AAA offers a multitude of resources at TeenDriving. AAA.com to help coach teen drivers, in addition to these tips:
· Require teens to log at least 100 hours of supervised practice driving with a parent before driving solo.
· Begin by practicing driving in low-risk situations and gradually move to situations that are more complex: highways, nighttime, driving in the rain, and on and around challenging roadways (e.g., curves).
· Use slightly different routes each practice session.
· Practice adjusting speed based on three factors: visibility, on-road traffic and different road conditions.
· Allow no more than one nonfamily passenger under the age of 20 to ride with the teen driver during the first six months of driving. For additional information on North Dakota’s licensing process and safe driving tips, visit www. TeenDriving.AAA.com or www. dot.nd.gov.