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Directions in Highway Safety Cover - fall 2012 Download Newsletter pdf
[2 MB, 12 pgs.]

Fall 2012

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Two New Teen Driver Safety Resources Available

Protecting Teen Drivers Cover

GHSA recently put out a report that details what states are doing to address teen driver safety. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA Foundation) also published a study that reinforces the need for strong passenger restrictions. Both were released just prior to National Teen Driver Safety Week, which ran October 14 - 20.

The GHSA publication, Curbing Teen Driver Crashes: An In-Depth Look at State Novice Driver Initiatives, examines how states are advancing teen driver safety through six key strategies:

Strengthening Graduated Driver License (GDL) laws to ensure they include elements that address crash risk and skill building;

GHSA surveyed its SHSO members to identify which programs and initiatives to feature in the publication, and an expert panel shared insights on other activities that are showing or are expected to show promising results. Transportation safety consultant and former New Jersey State Highway Safety Office Director Pam Fischer authored the report.

The AAA Foundation’s study, Characteristics of Fatal Crashes Involving 16- and 17-Year-Old Drivers with Teenage Passengers, demonstrates that the risk of a fatal crash increases as the number of teenage passengers increased.

Researchers analyzed crash data from the federal Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) from 2005-2010 to determine whether there was a correlation between specific risky behaviors (speeding, drinking and late-night driving) and the number of teenage passengers. All three risk factors were more prevalent among 16- and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes when the drivers were accompanied by teenage passengers.

The fact that the teen driver crash rate increases with more passengers has been established. But this report goes beyond to quantify the incidence of speeding, drinking, and late-night driving as contributing factors in teen driver crashes when multiple teen passengers are present.

Many states limit the number of passengers that novice teen drivers can have as part of their Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws, but some are more restrictive than others. According to Peter Kissinger, AAA Foundation’s president and CEO, “[This report] should be a clear call for legislatures in those states that don’t have robust passenger restrictions,” he said.

GHSA’s publication is available online at www.ghsa.org/html/publications/sfteens12.html. A limited number of print copies are available. Email jadkins@ghsa.org to request a print copy. Access the AAA Foundation study here: http://bit.ly/OYgvdY.