Chicago, IL – The physician-led traffic safety advocacy group called End Needless Death on Our Roadways and the National Safety Council today issued a ranking of the deadliest states in the country for youth-related driving fatalities. The list is based on the percent of young drivers involved in fatal crashes adjusted by each state’s 16-20 year-old driving population.
The announcement came as the two groups presented their Prescription for Teen Driver Safety, a report on youth driving fatalities and prescription for making roadways safer for and from young drivers and as NSC unveiled Family Guide to Teen Driver Safety, a comprehensive guide for parents with teen drivers.
“We have learned much about teen driver safety. We have reviewed the science and we know what is proven to work in reducing teen fatalities,” according to John Ulczycki, Director – Transportation Safety Group of NSC. “State laws play an important role, but no matter where one resides, parents play the most important role in managing their children’s early driving experience,” Ulczycki continues.
Nationwide, young drivers (16-20 years-old) make up six percent of the driving population yet they are involved in nearly twenty percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes. “In 2003 alone, young drivers were involved in 8,455 fatal crashes. Tragically, many of these fatalities and serious injuries could have been prevented,” according to Dr. Thomas Esposito, Co–Chairperson of END and Director of Loyola University Medical Center’s Injury Analysis and Prevention Program.
“Youth-related driving fatalities are an epidemic in the United States. Nearly one out of every five traffic fatalities involves a driver between the age of 16 and 20 years old. Young drivers, their passengers and passengers in other vehicles are dying needlessly because many young motorists are not given proper guidance, or when unsupervised, choose to participate in unsafe driving behavior during their early driving experience,” he said.
“Statistics, however, only begin to tell the story of the devastation and needless death caused in motor vehicle crashes,” according to Dr. Andrea Barthwell, Co-Chairperson of END and former Deputy Director for Demand Reduction for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. “Everyday, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals see the results of car crashes; broken lives and futures that will never be. All too often, they also see deadly crashes caused by a young driver,” she added.
“To address this crisis, END and NSC recommend that parents take pro-active steps. A Prescription for Teen Driver Safety is a simple, straightforward toolkit that parents and others can utilize before teens get behind the wheel,” Barthwell said. “Following these strict but reasonable guidelines will limit a young driver’s exposure at dangerous times and allow them to acquire vital driving experiences to help avoid a fatal tragedy,” she continued.
The Prescription for Teen Driver Safety toolkit provides recommendations including sample teen driving restrictions, state fatality data and ranking information and a youth driving recommendations.
Specific suggested recommendations include 30-50 practice hours of behind-the-wheel training with an adult (over age 21) licensed driver; holding a learner’s permit for at least six months with no exceptions; passenger restrictions until age 18; mandatory safety belt use in all seating positions until age 18; unsupervised nighttime driving between 10:00pm and 5:00am is prohibited until age 18; and license denial for any alcohol violation.
NSC unveiled its new Family Guide to Teen Driver Safety to help parents manage their teen’s driving.
“Created through generous funding from General Motors, Nationwide Insurance, DaimlerChrysler and the NHTSA, the Family Guide helps families to understand and manage the journey teens travel from beginner to independent driver,” said Ulczycki.
“The Family Guide is designed to reduce the anxiety and uncertainties parents of new drivers may feel and replace them with specific actions to manage the risks of teen driving,” Ulczycki said. NSC chapters nationwide offer parent workshops about the family guide. Families interested in a copy of the Family Guide or in attending a local workshop can find more information at NSC's website.
The Prescription for Teen Driver Safety State Ranking and Analysis is attached. Information contained in the ranking and analysis is 2003 data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System and the Federal Highway Administration.
The physician and other healthcare provider members of END are committed to working with traffic safety advocates and others by providing leadership, expertise and knowledge in addressing and preventing dangerous driving behaviors. To download a copy of the Prescription for Teen Driver Safety toolkit or for more information, visit endneedlessdeath.org. The Coalition to End Needless Death on Our Roadways is funded in part by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The National Safety Council (nsc.org) saves lives by preventing injuries and deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the roads through leadership, research, education and advocacy.