4 Ways to Keep Young Driver Fatalities Down

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading cause of unintentional death for teens in the United States is motor vehicle crashes. Although teen drivers, aged 15 to 20, are the smallest age group of drivers, representing about five percent of all total drivers, this age group typically has the highest number of fatal crashes among all drivers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Fatality Facts (most current data: 2021) reports:

  • The majority of motor vehicle crash deaths occur in passenger vehicles.
  • 62% of motor vehicle crash deaths were passenger vehicle occupants.
  • 76% of the passenger vehicle occupants killed were drivers.
  • 39% were single-vehicle crashes; 61% were multi-vehicle crashes.
  • 59% of passenger vehicle occupant deaths were from a front impact crash.
  • 23% of passenger vehicle occupants killed were younger than age 25.

For the first time since 2002, fatal crashes involving young drivers have decreased by 38%, according to a report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). While the number of young drivers has also decreased, this is encouraging news. The time, effort, and money put into programs to help improve teen driving habits and road safety awareness for young drivers has had an impact.

We must continue the efforts to promote safety with teen drivers, to not only protect their lives but the lives of all motorists and pedestrians. The GHSA recommends four ways we can help continue to decrease young driver fatalities.

1. Encourage Parent/Guardian Involvement in Ongoing Driver Education

We know that students with parental or guardian involvement have statistically stronger academic performance than those children without such support. Similarly, parental and guardian involvement is key for the safety of any young person learning the rules of the road and how to drive a vehicle. Parents or guardians of learning and newly licensed drivers must also know their state’s rules and regulations, including the GDL (Graduated Driver License) laws.

2. Advocate for Stronger Graduated Driver License (GDL) Laws

The CDC reports that GDL laws have “consistently proven to be effective at reducing the crash risk for beginning drivers, including teens” and studies have shown that “graduated driver licensing significantly decreases the risk of fatal teen crashes among 16 to 17-year-old drivers.”

While GDL laws vary by state, most have some form of phased-in driving restrictions and permissions. Young and new drivers need this time to learn, adapt, and become more proficient at the task of driving. Stronger and more comprehensive GDL laws can have a positive impact and the potential to help reduce young driver fatalities.

3. Ensure the Accessibility of Driver Education in All Communities

In many communities, driver’s education and training are only available to those who can afford to pay for it. While some areas may offer programs in public schools as part of the curriculum, others do not. Some states, like Missouri, don’t even require a driver education class before earning a learner’s permit, although it is encouraged. 

Unfortunately, those classes must be paid for by the participant and may be cost-prohibitive for many new drivers and their families. It is important to ensure everyone has access to young driver safety programs regardless of their economic, geographic, or other disparities.

4. Support the Use of New Driver Technology

Technology continues to help improve vehicle safety, which helps reduce roadway fatalities for all ages. Parents or guardians of young drivers play an important role when they use the latest innovative safety features while driving. Features like blind-spot monitoring or lane-departure warnings can help young drivers. When they see those features being used, they will be more likely to use them as well.

Kustom Signals Provides Tools to Enforce and Encourage Safe Driving

Law enforcement agencies must focus on identifying and putting a stop to dangerous driving behavior in motorists of all ages. 

Kustom Signals offers a variety of Handheld RADAR and In-Car RADAR systems for tracking and recording speed and other dangerous driving behaviors. Another great tool is the LaserCam 4, which can also assist with catching speed violations, in addition to dangerous driver behaviors such as cell phone usage and seat belt compliance.

We are also the source for RADAR speed displays and speed trailers to provide a law enforcement presence that will remind all drivers, including teens of the importance of speed awareness.

To learn more about Kustom Signals speed enforcement solutions and how we support law enforcement agencies, contact us today.

Categories : Urban Policing

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