Teen Driver Safety Week encourages road safetyby jmaloni
New research shows that risky behaviors climb when peer passengers are onboard
Risky behaviors among 16- and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes increased when teen passengers were present, according to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. With motor vehicle crashes ranking as the leading cause of death for teens, AAA is calling on parents to get involved and stay involved as their teens learn to drive.
The new research, released as part of Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 14-20), shows that the prevalence of risky behaviors generally grew for 16- and 17-year-old drivers as the number of teen passengers increased. Among 16- and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes:
•The prevalence of speeding increased from 30 percent to 44 percent and 48 percent with zero, two and three or more teen passengers, respectively.
•The prevalence of late-night driving (11 p.m. to 5 a.m.) increased from 17 percent to 22 percent and 28 percent with zero, two and three or more teen passengers, respectively.
•The prevalence of alcohol use increased from 13 percent to 17 percent and 18 percent with zero, two and three or more teen passengers, respectively.
"Mixing young drivers with teen passengers can have dangerous consequences," said Tony Spada, president/CEO of AAA Western and Central New York. "AAA urges parents to set and consistently enforce family rules that limit newly licensed teens from driving with young passengers."
To help inform parents and teen drivers, AAA will hold free "Start Smart" teen driving seminars throughout Western and Central New York. The seminars will begin at 6:30 p.m. and reservations are required.
Locally, an event will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6, at AAA Amherst Travel and Insurance Center, 100 International Drive, Williamsville.
AAA experts will be on hand to discuss: driver training and education; driver distractions; rules of the road; insurance requirements for new teen drivers; the entire licensing process, including DMV paperwork, graduated driver licensing (GDL) regulations, and road testing; and available tools and resources, such as AAA's new website for parents and teens, www.TeenDriving.AAA.com. To register, call 1-800-836-CLUB (2582) or visitwww.AAAdriverprograms.com.
This study builds on a AAA Foundation report released in May that shows how risk of death in a traffic crash for 16- and 17-year-old drivers increases by 44 percent when carrying one passenger younger than 21, doubles with two, and quadruples with three or more younger passengers, compared with driving alone.
According to New York state's graduated license law, junior license holders under age 18 may drive with no more than one passenger under age 21 unless they are members of the immediate family.
As Upstate New York's largest member services organization, AAA provides nearly 860,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at http://www.AAA.com.