Young Drivers

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Young African American Driver Safety Alert

Issued by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)

Automobile crashes are the number one cause of death for African Americans from birth through age 14, and the number two cause of death for African Americans ages 14 through 24. Per mile traveled, African American males ages 13-19 are nearly twice as likely to die in a motor vehicle crash than males in general, according to the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Center for Injury Research and Policy. View the complete report here.

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2008 Fatal Teen Crashes Statistics

In 2008, the State of Mississippi reported 120 fatal crashes involving teen drivers. In those crashes

  • 59 drivers were killed,
  • 34 passengers died,
  • 22 people in other vehicles were killed, and
  • 5 non-occupants of involved vehicle were killed

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Teen Statistics

Teenagers operate under the belief that they’re invincible and nothing bad will ever happen to them. After all, the powers-that-be have decided to give them the privilege of driving before their little cerebral cortexes (the brain’s logic center) has fully developed.

As you well know, life isn’t always safe for any teen – especially on the road. Trying to dampen your kid’s excitement so he’ll actually think while he’s behind the wheel? Good luck – You’ll need it! Here’s a list of shocking teen driving stats to help you prove a point to your teen driver.

  • Car crashes are the number one cause of teen deaths in the U.S.
  • Drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely to die in a crash than drivers between the ages of 25 and 69.
  • Teens have the highest chance of having a fatal crash within the first six months of getting their driver’s license.
  • 2,739 teenagers died in car accidents in the United States during 2008.
  • 5,864 fatal accidents involved teen drivers in 2008. This number is higher than the previous one because the teen driver often has to live with the guilt of causing someone else’s death.
  • Teen drivers were involved in 12% of all fatal crashes reported to the police.
  • Males are twice as likely as females to be killed in a crash while they’re teenagers.
  • 37% of male drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 were speeding at the time of a fatal crash.
  • 55% of teens killed in car crashes weren’t using their seat belts.
  • 31% of teens drivers were drinking alcohol at the time of their death.
  • Teen drivers were involved in 63% of teen passenger deaths and 19% of passenger deaths of all ages in fatal accidents.
  • 53% of teen deaths in fatal accidents occurred on the weekends and 41% occurred between 9 pm and 6 am.

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Risk Factors

Some teens seem to collect tickets like baseball cards and get in a string of accidents. Others breeze through this part of their life as safe drivers with a clean record. If you’d like to make sure your teen driver falls into the second category, here are the major risk factors to work on:

Poor Ability to Detect Hazards – Most teens are still developing their ability to pick out hazards while driving during their early years behind the wheel. This skill develops over time as your driver gains experience.

Poor Ability to Assess Risk – Most teen drivers lack the ability to accurately compare the potential risk of a hazard with their ability to avoid the threat. Usually, they underestimate the hazard and overestimate their skill level – a bad combination. This will also develop with time and experience.

Overconfidence – Teenagers truly believe they’re expert drivers. After all, they did earn their license, didn’t they? Until they learn they’re not as skilled as they think, they’ll engage in dangerous habits like speeding, ignoring traffic lights and signs, tailgating, driving in hazardous weather, and failing to yield.

Developing Skills – Many teen drivers are still developing the basic skills needed to safely control a vehicle under a variety of conditions.

Passengers – Teen drivers increase their chances of having a crash by carrying passengers – especially other teenagers. This could be due to distractions, pressure to perform, or encouragement to break traffic rules.

Driving at Night – Teen drivers are much more likely to be involved in a crash when they drive at night. This could be due to the higher difficulty involved with night driving or because risky behavior, like drinking, happens more often at night.

Alcohol or Drug Use – Although teen drivers are less likely to get behind the wheel while using alcohol and drugs, they are more likely to be involved in an accident if they do.

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