Dedicated to the Promise of Adam London
On the basis of miles driven, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. The high crash-involvement rate for this age group is caused primarily by their lack of maturity and driving experience coupled with their overconfidence and risk-taking behaviors. High-risk behaviors include failure to wear safety belts, speeding, and driving while impaired (by alcohol or other drugs), and drowsy or distracted driving.
Inexperienced driving kills:
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S., accounting for more than one-third of deaths of 16-18 year olds.
- Each year, more than 5000 teens (ages 16-20) are killed in passenger vehicle crashes.
- Despite efforts aimed at increasing belt use in this age group, observed seatbelt use among teens and young adults (16 to 24 years old) is typically the lowest of any age group. In fatal motor-vehicle crashes, the majority of teens (16 to 20 years old) continue to be unbuckled (58% in 2006).
- MA ranks 48th out of 50 in terms of seatbelt use! An unacceptable ranking.
Source: NHTSA (Teen Drivers)
Drinking and driving kills:
- Nationally in 2006, 25 percent of the young drivers ages 15-20 who were killed in crashes had blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels of .08 or higher at the time of the crash.
- Among 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2006, 31 percent of the drivers who were killed had been drinking and 77 percent of these drivers were unrestrained.
Source: NHTSA (Teen Drivers)
Drugged driving kills:
- Heavy marijuana use impairs a person’s ability to form memories, recall events, and shift attention from one thing to another. THC (marijuana’s active ingredient) also disrupts coordination and balance by binding to receptors in the cerebellum and basal ganglia, parts of the brain that regulate balance, posture, coordination of movement, and reaction time. Through its effects on the brain and body, marijuana intoxication can cause accidents. Studies show that approximately 6 to 11 percent of fatal accident victims test positive for THC. In many of these cases, alcohol is detected as well.
- In a study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a moderate dose of marijuana alone was shown to impair driving performance; however, the effects of even a low dose of marijuana combined with alcohol were markedly greater than for either drug alone.
- Results from NIDA’s Monitoring the Future survey indicate that, in 2008, more than 12% of high school seniors admitted to driving under the influence of marijuana in the 2 weeks prior to the survery.
- In a large study of almost 3,400 fatally injured drivers from three Australian states (Victoria, New South Wales, and Western Australia) between 1990 and 1999, drugs other than alcohol were present in 26.7 percent of the cases.
Distracted driving kills:
- In 2009, 20 percent of all injury crashes involved some type of distraction. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – NHTSA)
- Texting while driving led to accidents that killed an estimated 16,000 people from 2001-07. (American Journal of Public Health 9/2010)
- 5,474 people died in 2009 in crashes involving a distracted driver, and an additional 448,000 were injured. (FARS and GES)
- The younger, inexperienced drivers (those under age 20) have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes. (NHTSA)
- Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)
- Using a cell phone and driving (with or without a hands-free device) is equivalent to driving drunk. (Univ. of Utah)
Source: US DOT (Distraction.Gov)
- Researchers found that, for every five miles of speed above 60 km/hour (40 miles/hour), the risk of a fatal accident doubles. A car travelling at 65 km/hour was twice as likely to be in a fatal car crash than one travelling at 60 km/hour. A car driving 70 km/hour is four times more likely, and so on. Driving more slowly allows you more reaction time, your car more braking time, the other car or pedestrian more reaction time and so on.
Source: NOVA (Science in the News)
- Of those (teens) involved in crashes in 2000, 58% were speeding at the time of the crash.
Source: MA Safe Roads Alliance