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AAA study finds majority of deaths in teen crashes are passengers and other motorists; not teen drivers
58.4 percent of Tennessee teen crash victims in a 10-year period were persons other than teen drivers


Most people killed in teen driver crashes are people other than teen drivers themselves, according to an updated analysis of 10 years of crash data by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

While one-third of people killed in crashes with drivers ages 15 to 17 are teen drivers themselves, nearly two-thirds of those killed are passengers, occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and other road users.


“For every Tennessee teen driver killed in a crash, almost twice as many other people died, which underscores the link between teen driver safety and the safety of everyone on the road,” said Don Lindsey, public affairs director for AAA East Tennessee.

Source: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety

• In Tennessee, between 1998 and 2007, crashes that involved 15-, 16- and 17-year-old drivers killed 850 people, of whom 354 (41.6 percent) were teen drivers themselves. The remaining 496 deaths (58.4 percent) included 244 passengers of the 15- to 17-year-old drivers, 216 occupants of other vehicles operated by adult drivers, 36 non-motorists and others.

• Nationwide crashes between 1998 and 2007 that involved 15-, 16- and 17-year-old drivers killed 28,138 people, of whom 10,388 (36.9 percent) were teen drivers themselves. The remaining 17,750 (63.1 percent) deaths included 8,829 passengers of the teen drivers, 6,858 occupants of other vehicles operated by adult drivers, and 2,063 non-motorists and others.

• A previous analysis in 2006 found that between 1995 and 2004, crashes involving 15-, 16- and 17-year-old drivers claimed the lives of 30,917 people, of whom 36.2 percent were the teen drivers and 63.6 percent were others.

“One teen death is one too many,” said Stephanie Milani, public affairs specialist for AAA East Tennessee. “This is why AAA continues to advocate for a stricter Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) systems. States with comprehensive GDL systems have been shown to reduce deaths among 16-year-old drivers by 38 percent. Although Tennessee’s GDL law contains the most important components in a GDL system, only one state meets AAA’s strict guidelines.” For more information on AAA’s GDL guidelines, visit www.AAAExchange.com.

Although the number of deaths is alarming, AAA points to the drop in both teen driver deaths and the larger drop in deaths of others during the last decade as evidence that improvements in teen driver safety laws benefits all road users.

AAA also encourages parents to play the leading role in developing their teen driver through regular dialogue, selecting a quality driving school, using a parent-teen driving agreement, extensive practice driving, and choosing a safe vehicle for their teen.

 

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