New research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that when a teen driver has 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) ride 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.
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
In Alaska in 2016 there were 11 fatalities in crashes involving teen drivers – 6 were drivers, 4 were passengers of teen drivers, and 1 was the occupant of another vehicle, according to federal government data.
“Teens lack experience behind the wheel, which increases the odds of a deadly outcome, not just for the teen driver, but for their passengers and others on the roadways,” said Michelle Donati, spokesperson for AAA Alaska. “Parents of teens must take this rite of passage seriously by setting and consistently enforcing rules to limit teenage passengers in the vehicle.”
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).
•Allow no more than one non-family passenger under the age of 20 to ride with the teen driver during the first six months of driving.
•Use slightly different routes each practice session.
•Practice adjusting speed based on three factors: visibility, on-road traffic and different road conditions.
“Strong coaching and diversity in practice driving sessions are key when teens have their learners permit,” Donati said. “And, once teens have their license, consistent parental involvement is essential.”
About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.
About the study: Data used in the Everyone’s at Risk 2018 brief came from the 2016 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the Crash Report Sampling Survey System (CRSS). The FARS database includes all motor vehicle crashes on public roadways that resulted in a fatality within 30 days of crash. The CRSS database is a nationally representative probability sample of all police-reported crashed in the United States.
About AAA Alaska: We are more than our legendary fleet of tow trucks, auto, home, life insurance and travel services. Our mission is to make a positive impact in the communities we serve, offering smarter solutions that improve traffic safety and helping the public adapt to a fast-changing mobility landscape. Learn more at AAA.com.