AAA: New teen drivers 3 times more likely to be involved in fatal crash

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HAMILTON -

New teen drivers, ages 16 to 17 years old, are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a fatal crash, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

According to the New Jersey State Police, eight fatalities on New Jersey roadways involving drivers and passengers 20 years of age and younger have occurred so far this year. In 2015 and 2016, the numbers totaled 39 and 34 respectively for the entire year.

“Statistics show that teen crashes spike during the summer months because teens are out of school and on the road,” said Tracy E. Noble, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “The foundation’s research found that inexperience paired with greater exposure on the road could create a deadly combination for teen drivers.”

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s latest study analyzed crash rates per mile driven for all drivers and found that for every mile on the road, drivers between 16 and 17 years old are:

  • 3.9 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a crash
  • 2.6 times as likely as drivers 18 and older to be involved in a fatal crash
  • 4.5 times as likely as drivers 30-59 to be involved in a crash
  • 3.2 times as likely as drivers 30-59 to be involved in a fatal crash

According to the latest crash data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatal teen crashes are on the rise. The number of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2015 increased more than 10 percent from the previous year, the NHTSA said.

AAA found that the three factors that commonly result in deadly crashes for teen drivers are distraction, not using seat belts and speeding.

In a recent survey of New Jersey drivers, AAA Mid-Atlantic found that 49 percent of those surveyed thought the biggest reason for teen driving crashes was distraction by cell phone. That percentage was higher than all other reasons -- including lack of driving experience, distraction by passengers, and drinking and driving – combined.

The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered the “100 Deadliest Days.” During that time span, the average number of deadly teen driver crashes climbs 15 percent compared to the rest of the year, AAA said.

Over the past five years, more than 1,600 people were killed in crashes involving inexperienced teen drivers during the “100 Deadliest Days.”

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