A fatal traffic accident involving a car full of teenagers in eastern Iowa has fallen on a week set aside to raise awareness about the need to improve the driving skills of young motorists. This is National Teen Driver Safety Week.
Mick Mulhern, youth coordinator with the Iowa Department of Public Safety, says drivers aged 15 to 20 make up just 9% of Iowa licensed drivers – but research shows teen drivers are at a greater risk of injury and death than all other age groups. “There’s a misrepresentation in the numbers…the range is out of whack, if you will,” Mulhern said.
In 2010, there were 46 fatal crashes in Iowa involving 51 teen drivers. A report from the University of Iowa’s Public Policy Center ranks Iowa 49th among the 50 states in regards to teen driving safety statistics and conditions.
Mulhern says he’s concerned Iowa’s graduated driver’s license system is failing to adequately prepare teenage drivers. “That’s one of the concerns that we have,” Mulhern said. “How much preparation and experience do these kids have prior to them getting out there with the ability to drive by themselves?”
A traffic crash near Tiffin late Monday afternoon claimed the life of a 14-year-old girl from Amana. Authorities say six teens were in a car that crossed the center line on Highway 6 and hit a minivan head-on.