Teen driving: A Risk to All

Teen driving: A Risk to All

According to AAA, car accidents involving teen drivers are twice as likely to kill passengers, other drivers, and pedestrians, as they are to kill young drivers.  To determine these statistics, the American Automobile Association analyzed the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration’s data on fatal accidents.  Researchers determined that 30,000 people died in teen driving accidents between 1995 and 2004. 

The auto club’s president, Robert Darbelnet, reports, “Teen-driver accidents are even more deadly for others than they are for the drivers themselves.  To view teen crashes as a problem only for teens overlooks a specific point: Everyone is at risk.”

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers.  However, passengers involved in teen driving accidents, other vehicle drivers, and pedestrians are at significant risk as well.  According the AAA study, 32 percent of those killed in teen driving accidents are passengers, 36 percent are drivers between the ages of 15 and 17, and 32 percent of those killed in teen driving accidents are pedestrians or people in other vehicles. 

The AAA study confirmed previous data, which indicates that time of day and driver distractions are two major factors in the rate of teen driving accidents.   For these reasons, many states across the nation have placed restrictions on the driving privileges of teens. 

In many states, teens are given provisional licenses, which prohibit driving with other teens in the vehicle or driving after daylight hours, in the interest of safety. 

“The provisional-license restrictions remove some big risk factors.  Keeping friends out of the car allows a new driver who is still figuring things out to gain very necessary experience behind the wheel without distraction.,” says Janet Ray of Washington’s AAA chapter. 

To reduce the number of teen driving accidents, teens with provisional licenses in Washington have six months in which they are prohibited from driving with a non-relative passenger under the age of 20.  If they have a clean driving record in that time, they are allowed to carry three young passengers at one time for another six months. 

New drivers are also prohibited from driving between the hours of one and five in the morning, unless accompanied by a parent, or licensed driver over the age of 25. 

Law enforcement officials implement programs to educate parents and teens about the risk factors for teen driving accidents and the restrictions placed on initial driving privileges. 



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