Sunday, August 21, 2011

Back to School: Teenagers Driving to School

A special guest post by Safe Teen Driving Club as school is opening throughout the country.

Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and injury among 15- to 20-year olds.
Will your teen be driving to school this year?

Do You Know the Facts?
  • 16-year-old teens have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age.
  • They are three times more likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than the average of all drivers.
  • In 2008 some 2,739 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 died in motor vehicle crashes.
  • About 2 out of every 3 teenagers killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2008 were males (IIHS).
  • Drivers ages 15-20 accounted for 12% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2008 and 14% of all drivers involved in police-reported crashes.
  • 63% of teenage passenger deaths occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager.
  • Among deaths of passengers of all ages, 19% occurred when a teenager was driving (IIHS).
  • 58 percent of teen drivers crash the car in their first year of driving; over 80 percent in the first three years, according to the National Safety Council.
  • The majority (58%) of young people 16 to 20 years old involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes were unbuckled.  (Ref.: NHTSA)
  • The leading Risk Factors are:
-Driving after dark
-Inexperience, age
-Driver Distraction – iPod, Cell Phone, Radio, Other Passengers
-Failure to buckle up
-Drugs, Alcohol
Teens who get less than eight hours of sleep per night are twice as likely to say they have fallen asleep at the wheel (20 percent) than teens who report getting eight or more hours of sleep per night (10 percent). A national survey of 3,580 students in grades 10-12 found that 36 percent of teens often drive when drowsy to school in the morning.
Ref: Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions).

Driving between 9PM and 6AM triples the risk of a fatal crash for 16-year-old drivers, a 2003 IIHS report showed. A NC study found “the majority of 16 and 17 year-old drivers' nighttime crashes (nearly 80 percent) occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.”
(Ref: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (
What To Do? Get Engaged!
  • Parental involvement is a key contributor to safe driving behavior. Establish clear family  rules for driving.
  • Work with your teens to get more sleep
  • Consider putting them on the bus or driving them to school - even if it is not cool!
  • Vehicle monitoring and reporting has dramatic impact on reducing accident rates – proven in the commercial arena for years.
  • Establishing driving agreements contributes to reduced fatalities (when enforced.)
  • Parents need to enforce Graduated Driver Licensing laws rather than relying on law enforcement.
  • Discussion, awareness and training for teens and parents are key
Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.
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Visit Safe Driving Club today for more valuable information.
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