Fatal Teen Driving Accidents Are Often Speed-Related: Study

According to a recent study published by government officials, speeding accounts for roughly one-third of all fatal auto accidents involving teen drivers and the the percentage has increased over the last decade.

The report was funded through State Farm and the Governors Highway Safety Association, titled “Speeding-Related Fatal Crashes Among Teen Drivers and Opportunities for Reducing the Risks”, indicating that the fatality rate among teen drivers has increased over the last decade by 3%, with 19,447 teen lives lost.

Teen drivers are at the highest risk for speeding related fatalities and the risk of occurrence is more prevalent when other teen passengers are present in the vehicle, the report found. Almost half of all speeding-related teen fatalities occurred when a 16 year-old male had three or more teenage passengers in the vehicle, according to the report.

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The information collected in the study points out that 40% of fatal crashes involving teens occur on roads with speed limits of 55mph and higher and the percentage increases to 60% for roads with speed limits under 55mph.

Reducing Teen Speeding Will Save Lives

The author of the study, Dr. Susan Ferguson, former vice president of the Insurance Institute of for Highway Safety, stressed that curbing teen speeding is crucial in preventing teenage deaths.

Dr. Ferguson explained in a press release issued together with the report that speeding among teen drivers needs to be recognized as a dangerous behavior similar to drinking and driving, and that it is imperative for parents to be influential during the teens’ learning process.

At 16, adolescents are still growing and their cognitive development is not complete until their 20’s, which jeopardizes their reaction time and poses an increased crash risk in spur-of-the-moment situations.

Teenage crash fatalities are most common at nighttime, with the study finding that a majority of the speeding-related teenage crash fatalities happen at night between the hours of 11:00pm and 4:59am for drivers between 16 and 19 years-old. The fatality rate is drastically cut in half by almost 50% during day light hours and more common traffic times.

There have been some attempts to resolve the problem, such as the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), which prevents young drivers from driving on the roads during night time when they are most likely to speed or be caught in dangerous weather conditions.

The study also suggests that when parents are teaching their adolescent’s how to drive, they should have serious discussions about awareness of traffic signals, create consequences if their child breaks the rules, avoid primary access to the vehicle, make safety the main goal when selecting a vehicle, and possibly enroll the teen in incentive-based insurance programs.


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