A new report finds teenage drivers are not only in danger of killing themselves in crashes — they’re a bigger risk to other people than we thought. Dawn Duffy with the American Automobile Association says the Triple-A Foundation for Traffic Safety has looked into the risk posed by young, inexperienced operators who get behind the wheel. A recent analysis of ten years of crash data finds most of the people killed in crashes involving teen drivers are people other than the teens themselves.
Up to now, most analysis centered on those teen drivers and the risk only to them. But she says they’re finding that from 1995 and 2004 crashes involving drivers age 15, 16 and 17 claimed the lives of 454 people in Iowa. 38-percent of those victims were the young drivers themselves, but nearly two-thirds of the people who died in those crashes were passengers, other drivers, and other people on the road.
Car crashes are the leading cause of death among teens, according to Triple-A, and Duffy says the auto club set a goal to push for passage of “graduated drivers license” laws that limit the privileges of young drivers. That’s finally happened, and Iowa got its provisional-drivers-license law in 1999, though AAA’s now focused on adding nighttime and passenger restrictions to the Iowa law. Those changes are included in legislation recommended earlier this year by the Iowa Transportation Commission.