The Texas Transportation Institute’s “Teens in the Driver’s Seat” center has released the results of 10-year study of highway fatalities, which shows that the percentage of night time fatalities has increased for teen drivers during the last decade. A combination of cell phone use, darkness and inexperience is particularly deadly for teenage drivers.
More teenagers die as the result of car crashes than from any other cause. Moreover, while car crashes account for 2% of all deaths nationwide, they account for 43% of teen deaths. It is estimated that the economic cost across the United States exceeds $41 billion each year.
The death toll for teens in Texas is more than 500 each year, according to TTI. (Each day in this country, 11 teens die in car crashes.) The vast majority of these crashes are attributable to a combination of driver inexperience, coupled with one or more of the five major risks facing teen drivers – driving at night, distractions such as cell phones and other young passengers, speeding, not using seat belts, and drinking and driving
“Among drivers 20 and older, alcohol was a clear culprit in the proportional increase in night time deaths, said Bernie Fette of TTI. “ Not so with teenagers, among whom there was a greater increase but no corresponding jump in deaths that could be attributed to drunken driving.”