Study: Teen traffic deaths drop, still higher than adult rate
As we come up on National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 16-22), a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) indicates that while progress has been made in cutting teen-driver related traffic accidents and fatalities during the past decade, teens are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash. Funded by Ford Motor Company, the GHSA study also found the rate of teen-driver involved fatal crashes declined by 56 percent for those aged 15-17 between 2004 and 2014, but by only 44 percent for those in the 18-20 group. Meanwhile, the latest study released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that fatal crashes involving all teen drivers increased 10 percent overall in 2015 compared to a 7.2 percent rise in overall motor vehicle related deaths.
A closer look at the data generated by the GHSA study shows teen males are twice as likely to be involved in fatal crashes as females. They also are less likely to be wearing a seatbelt and more likely to be speeding and/or impaired at the time of the accident. Indeed, alcohol played a continuing role in the deaths of all less-experienced drivers as a group, with nearly 10 percent of the younger teens and 20 percent of the older ones having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01 percent or greater. And the number of males with a 0.08-percent or higher BAC – the legal DUI limit for adults in all jurisdictions – involved in fatal crashes was double that of females. Time of day is also a factor with older teens in general twice as likely as younger ones to die in a car crash that occurred between midnight and 6:00 AM.
The GHSA recommends expanding the use of graduated driver’s license programs. It also strongly believes in having teens complete defensive driving training or courses like the Ford Driving Skills for Life which has helped educate over a million individuals across the entire U.S. since it was created in 2003.