Connection Between Speeding and Teen Deaths Released in New Report
February 20, 2021
A recent study by the Governors Highway Safety Association has revealed a significant association between speeding and teen deaths in motor vehicle accidents across the country.
Study Shows Connection Between Speeding and Teen Road Deaths
The association’s study, conducted in cooperation with the Ford Motor Company Fund, looked at data from 2015 through 2019 and found that speed-related fatal motor vehicle accidents affect teens more than any other age group. The study revealed that teen drivers and passengers accounted for 43 percent of all fatalities arising from motor vehicle accidents caused by or involving speeding. This represents nearly 5,000 teen deaths during the study period.
The association’s directors note the importance of these findings in light of the fact that traffic fatality rates have gone up over the past year during the pandemic, due to the lower traffic volumes on roads permitting drivers to drive at higher speeds. They note that more drivers are tempted to speed on less-crowded roads, with teens apparently the most likely to speed.
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Factors That Contribute to Teen Speeding Deaths
The study’s data shows that speed-related fatal crashes most frequently involve male drivers and passengers. Other factors that contribute to fatalities in speed-involved motor vehicle accidents include failure to wear seat belts, and accidents involving the vehicle either running off the road, rolling over, or striking an object off the road.
The study also found that the rate of accidents and fatalities involving teen drivers increases significantly when non-family members are in the vehicle.
Pennsylvania Ranks High Among Teen Motor Vehicle Deaths
Among states with the highest number of teen driver and passenger fatalities during the study period, Pennsylvania ranked ninth; Texas, California, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina ranked first through fifth, respectively. Narrowing down to just speed-related teen deaths on the road, Pennsylvania jumps up to third on the list of states, behind Texas and California.
Pennsylvania’s Department of Transportation offers programs to help young drivers gain experience behind the wheel and learn the importance of safe driving. Representatives from PennDOT also stress the importance of continued adult supervision and instruction for teen drivers even after a teenager gets their full driver’s license.
Driving school operators also note that while the state requires drivers under the age of 18 to have at least 65 hours of experience behind the wheel before getting a junior license, there is no way for the state to verify whether a teen has actually met this requirement or the quality of experience they have gotten behind the wheel. They suggest the possibility of using monitoring devices or speed regulators hooked into a teen’s vehicle as a way of allowing parents to keep tabs on their kids and teach teens to drive safely. Experts also suggest that parents set an example by driving safely themselves as their teens get older and begin to drive. Experts also note the decreasing availability of driver education courses provided through public schools, which over the years have been eliminating such programs due to budget cuts.
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