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Jennifer Haugh
Manager, Public and Government Affairs, KS
O: (785) 438-6554 ext. (5306554)
C: (785) 438-0600
jhaugh@AAA-AlliedGroup.com

Shawn Steward
Manager, Public and Government Affairs, KS
O: (316) 681-8333
C: (785) 409-0678
ssteward@aaa-alliedgroup.com

TOPEKA, Kan. (June 1, 2017) – New teen drivers, ages 16-17 years old, are three times more likely than adults to be involved in a deadly crash, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This alarming finding comes as we enter the “100 Deadliest Days,” the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day when the average number of deadly teen driver crashes climbs 15 percent compared to the rest of the year. Over the past five years, more than 1,600 people were killed nationwide in crashes involving inexperienced 16- and 17-year-old teen drivers during this deadly period.

In Kansas Department of Transportation crash data from 2015, the latest information available, 15-19-year-old drivers were involved in 11,348 crashes – more than 31 each day – resulting in 2,732 injuries and 40 fatalities.

 

“Statistics show that teen crashes spike during the summer months because teens are out of school and on the road,” said Dr. David Yang, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety executive director. “The Foundation’s research found that inexperience paired with greater exposure on the road could create a deadly combination for teen drivers.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s latest study, Rates of Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries, and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age, analyzes crash rates per mile driven for all drivers and found that for every mile on the road, drivers ages 16-17 years old are:

·         3.9 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a crash

·         2.6 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a fatal crash

·         4.5 times as likely as drivers 30-59 to be involved in a crash

·         3.2 times as likely as drivers 30-59 to be involved in a fatal crash

 

Fatal teen crashes are on the rise. The number of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes increased more than 10 percent from the previous year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 2015 crash data, the latest data available. To reverse this alarming trend, AAA urges parents to help reduce the number of deadly crashes on the road by getting more involved and talking to their teens about the dangers of risky behavior behind the wheel.

“Parents are the front line of defense for keeping our roads safer this summer,” said Shawn Steward with AAA Kansas. “It all starts with educating teens about safety on the road and modeling good behavior, like staying off the phone and buckling your safety belt.”

 

Three factors that commonly result in deadly crashes for teen drivers are:

  • Distraction: Distraction plays a role in nearly six out of 10 teen crashes, four times as many as official estimates based on police reports. The top distractions for teens include talking to other passengers in the vehicle and interacting with a smart phone.
  • Not Buckling Up: In 2015, the latest data available, 60 percent of teen drivers killed in a crash were not wearing a safety belt. Teens who buckle up significantly reduce their risk of dying or being seriously injured in a crash.
  • Speeding: Speeding is a factor in nearly 30 percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers. A recentAAA survey of driving instructors found that speeding is one of the top three mistakes teens make when learning to drive.

Driving distractions and inexperience are well-recognized factors that greatly contribute to vehicle crashes involving young drivers. In an exclusive research survey conducted this month for AAA Kansas by Public Policy Polling, 994 Kansas residents were asked their opinion on the biggest reason for teen driving crashes. The results were as follows:

Distraction by cell phone…………55%

Lack of driving experience……….16%

Distraction by passengers……….13%

Not sure……………………………11%

Drinking and driving……………….5%

 

When asked in the same survey for opinions on the best way to prevent teen driver crashes, Kansans gave these responses:

Stronger penalties for distracted driving……….17%

More driver education……………………………11%

More driving practice before getting license…..11%

All of the above…………………………………...47%

Not sure……………………………………………..4%   

To promote safer driving for teens and other drivers on the road, AAA advocates for the following restrictions and regulations:

 

AAA Teen Driver Safety Recommendations

 

 

Passenger

Restrictions

 

 

AAA recommends no more than one non-family passenger younger than age 20 for at least first six months of licensure.

 

 

Teen Wireless

Bans

 

 

AAA recommends complete wireless device bans for all drivers younger than age 18.

 

 

Text Messaging Bans

 

 

AAA recommends prohibiting texting while driving for all drivers.

 

 

Seat Belts

 

 

AAA recommends a standard seat belt enforcement law for all vehicle occupants.

 

 

 

Additionally, to keep roads safer this summer, AAA encourages parents to:

· Have conversations with their teens early and often about distraction and speeding.

· Teach by example and minimize risky behavior when driving.

· Make a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules for teen drivers.

 

TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teens for the dangerous summer driving season. The online AAA StartSmart program also offers great resources for parents on how to become effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen’s overall driving privileges. Teens preparing for the responsibility of driving should enroll in a driver education program that teaches how to avoid driver distraction and other safety skills. AAA also offers membership discounts for new teen drivers to help keep them safe on the road in case of an emergency.

 

 

 

 

Follow us on Twitter: @AAAKansasNews

Mailing Address:
3545 SW 6th Avenue
Topeka, KS 66606

AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 57 million members nationwide and more than 335,000 members in Kansas. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years.  The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android.  For more information, visit www.AAA.com.

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