In honor of the third annual National Teen Driver Safety Week, which is taking place this week in California and throughout the country, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has planned several events to encourage teenagers and their parents to take traffic safety seriously. According to the CHP, auto accidents are the leading cause of death in the U.S. for drivers between the ages of 15 and 20, and teenage drivers are involved in three times as many deadly car crashes than all other drivers.
Over the past decade, the number of teen drivers involved in fatal car accidents has dropped by more than 35 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, more than 2,300 teen drivers were killed in car accidents in 2009, with male drivers making up 70 percent of those fatalities.
Inexperience is likely one of the main causes of the increased risk of fatal car accidents in teenagers. In a recent study of car accidents involving teenagers, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that teen drivers are 50 percent more likely to be involved in a car accident during their first month of driving than they are after their first year. In addition, they are twice more likely to crash during that first month than they are after two years of driving.
In addition to lack of driving experience, CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow believes that there are several common misbehaviors that raise the risk of car accidents for teenagers. “Inexperience combined with speed, lack of seat belt compliance, distractions, alcohol, or any other risk-taking behavior can have deadly results behind the wheel,” he said.
Source: Moorpark Patch, “CHP Observes Teen Driver Safety Week,” Rebecca Whitnall, Oct. 16, 2011
Source: Washington Post, “Teen drivers most likely to crash in first month of solo driving,” Mark Berman, Oct. 15, 2011