The AAA Foundation found in a study of teen driver crashes that, “The number of people injured annually in crashes involving teen drivers declined by 51% between 1994-2013 and the number of people killed each year in teen driver crashes declined by 56%. Most of these declines in injuries and fatalities occurred between 2004 and 2013.”
Age of Driver | % of Decrease in Fatal Crashes | % Decrease in Injury Crashes
15 73 63
16 72 68
17 64 55
18 48 46
19 45 35
So as you see, as teens get older, their good driving habits seem to go into decline, but crashes are still decreasing. AAA guessed that Graduated Driver Licensing (called the Graduated License Law in New York State) might be one of the reasons for the decline. Plus the economic collapse of 2008 may have taken many young drivers off the road.
But we prefer to think that parents are more closely overseeing their kids as they learn to drive. And young people today are more aware of and appreciative of the dangers inherent in driving a car.
A 51% drop in teen crashes is amazing. As far as we’re concerned, that is great news that shines a positive light on today’s kids.
Having said all of this, though, the Triple A study also acknowledges that teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States. As another report by Triple A on the causes of teen crashes says, “963,000 drivers ages 16-19 were involved in police-reported motor vehicle crashes in 2013, which resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths.”
Why Do Teens Crash their Cars?
So what are the causes of these crashes and how can we get the numbers down even further? In this second study, researchers examined data captured on participants’ in-vehicle video camera systems.
- 79% of single-vehicle crashes were the result of the young person driving too fast for conditions.
- 36% of read-end crashes because the driver was following too closely.
- 43% of angle crashes because of a failure to yield.
- 58% of crashes were because a driver was inattentive or engaged in other non-driving activities like conversing with other passengers.
This brings us to distracted driving. We have talked about this before. The most frequent distracting behaviors for teens were conversing and cell phone use. This is especially true in road-departure crashes and rear-end crashes.
The study found that drivers looking at their cell phone spent 4.1 seconds out of a final 6 seconds before a crash looking away. In over half of rear-end collisions drivers exhibited no reaction at all before impact.
The stats above on distracted driving turn out to be higher than on police reported crashes. That’s probably because teens (and most people, actually) don’t readily admit that they were on the phone before a crash happens. Here, of course, researchers could see it all on video.
So, as Trusted Choice™ independent agents here in the Mohawk Valley, we congratulate our teens on their conscientious approach to driving and driver safety. And to police and law enforcement whose emphasis on safety is making a difference.
But as we’ve said before, besides driving safely at the speed limit, STAY OFF YOUR CELL PHONES while driving.
Until next time,
Your SZW Team
SZW Insurance is your New Hartford area Trusted Choice™ independent insurance agent. Call us for a quote on insurance for your home, car, business, or life at 315.792.0000. Or request a quote here.