A new national safety study released in April 2013 reported teen driver-related fatalities have dropped by almost 50% over the last six years. The number of teen passengers killed in crashes involving teen drivers fell 30 percent in the United States from 2008 to 2011.
The joint report by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm Insurance showed positive news in that 54 percent of teen passengers reported that they always used seat belts. Other encouraging trends among teen passengers between 2008 and 2011 included:
- A decline in the risky behaviors of teen passengers, ages 15 to 19.
- The number of teen passengers killed in crashes and who were not wearing seat belts fell 23 percent.
- The number of teen passengers killed in crashes where a teen driver had been drinking dropped 14 percent.
Despite the progress outlined in the study, a number of risky behaviors remain serious problems. These include texting or emailing while driving, drinking and driving, and low levels of seat belt use.
The study found that one-third of teens admitted to texting or emailing while driving. Speeding was a factor in more than 50% of fatal crashes involving teen drivers in 2011, similar to 2008. The number of teens who died in crashes and had a blood alcohol level higher than 0.01 rose from 38 percent in 2008 to 41 percent in 2011.
The study cited a number of key areas that have the greatest potential to reduce teen traffic crashes and deaths, including reducing distractions from passengers and technology; improving skills in scanning, hazard detection and speed management; and increasing seat belt use.
The study, called “Miles to go: Focusing on Risks for Teen Driver Crashes,” is the third in an annual series.
SOURCE: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, news release, April 4, 2013