Why teen drivers are dying more and less

ghsa_teendata2016_ig2 ghsa_teendata2016_ig1_540pxNext week is National Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 16-22). A new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), shows that while  progress has been made in reducing teen driver-involved traffic crashes and deaths over the past decade, teens drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than their adult counterparts and teen-involved fatal crashes increased by 10 percent in 2015.

The report also reveals that while great progress has been made at reducing younger teen driver deaths (ages 15-17), more needs to be done for older teen drivers (ages 18-20). All new drivers need training. Fatality rates for crashes involving 18-20 year-olds is higher than for 15-17 year-olds. The report provides recommendations for actions that can be taken to continue a decrease in teen deaths.

“This data shows that smart programs, like Driving Skills for Life, that focus on teen driving behavior have been very successful in helping novice and younger drivers be safer on the roads,” said Jim Graham, Global Manager for the Ford Driving Skills for Life program.

Ford Driving Skills for Life was established in 2003 by Ford Motor Company Fund, the Governors Highway Safety Association, and a panel of safety experts to teach newly licensed teens and parents the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driver education programs. The basic premise behind Ford Driving Skills for Life is to provide a step in the learning process, providing new skills and information not currently shared with newly licensed drivers in the basic driver education courses.

The program has trained more than one million individuals in safe driving practices. It is offered in 35 countries, and hands-on driving clinics have been conducted in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Read Teen Driving Report, funded by a grant from the Ford Motor Company fund.

teenlicenseThe GHSA analysis clearly indicates that while crashes involving 15- to 20-year-old teen drivers have declined significantly over the past decade, the gains are not as strong for 18- to 20-year-old teens. Additionally, male teens are twice as likely as female teens to be involved in fatal crashes, less likely to buckle up, and more likely to be speeding and/or impaired at the time of the crash.
Solutions to problem include expanding Graduated Drivers License to include all teen drivers under 21 years of age. Graduated driver licensing laws are intended to target the youngest novice drivers given their high crash risk. With the exception of New Jersey, where the provisions of its GDL law apply to all driver license applicants younger than 21 years of age. The teens are tested and given more driving privileged over time.