Whether you and your crew more closely resembled Fonz and the gang from Happy Days or Fez and his friends from That ‘70s Show, you probably have some high school memories of driving around with the windows open (and maybe the top down) on summer evenings, completely carefree. Ah, those were the days! Unfortunately, not everyone has fond memories — or any recollection at all — of joy rides they went on as teens.
In fact, while your kids and grandkids might be less likely to enjoy a cruise with friends, they’re also more likely to survive to see their twenties. According to 2013 data, 2,524 teens died in motor vehicle crashes in 2013. While that’s 2,524 too many, it’s still 11% fewer than the number of automobile-related fatalities that occurred in 2012 and an amazing 71% fewer than occurred in 1975!
How do the numbers of teen driver automobile-related fatalities compare to those in other age groups? The fatal-crash-rate-per-mile-driven number for teens is close to 3 times that of drivers age 20 and older. The ages associated with the highest risk are 16 and 17. (It’s nearly twice as high as for those who are 18 and 19 years old.)
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Highway Loss Data Institute, compared to drivers in other age groups, teen drivers are most at risk for crashes of any kind. As a result, all 50 states have adopted a 3-stage Graduated Driver Licensing system in order to reduce the risks. The basic idea is to help teens attain experience driving with supervision and then in relatively low-risk situations. By promoting further development of driving skills before being legally allowed to drive at night or with other teens as passengers, GDL laws have apparently led to a 10-30% reduction in motor vehicle accidents involving teens.
While the GDL laws are national, each state has to determine where to set the standards and how to enforce them. According to the data, those states with the strictest laws have demonstrated the greatest reduction in teen driver deaths, compared to those with weaker laws. Some states have taken the additional step of delaying the age at which teens are allowed to get learner permits as well as full-privilege licenses, further reducing the number of deaths.
Thanks in part to the Safe Roads for Teens coalition in Pennsylvania, our state’s provisions are fairly conservative, compared to other states. (You can look up details of each state’s laws here.) From what analysts have been able to determine from various studies, the most significant facets of state-wide requirements are these:
• Age for attaining permit
• Number of practice driving hours
• Age for legal licensure
• Restrictions on night driving
• Restrictions regarding passengers.
Now, before you start packing your bags and looking for a job in another state, remember that you get to determine that teen’s access to motor vehicles. You can establish your own rules to help reduce risk even more.
Continue reading with Part 2.
The Nicholas Insurance Agency, led by Greg Nicholas, is a family owned business serving the York county, Pennsylvania region. In the insurance business since 1981, Greg Nicholas helps families, businesses and individuals understand the value of different insurance products and make wise decisions when selecting the best insurance products for their specific situations.
Offering exclusively Allstate insurance products, the Nicholas Agency provides auto, homeowners, rental and landlord insurance as well as life & disability, recreational vehicle, motorcycle and personal liability insurance.
For more information, visit our two York, PA locations at Westgate Plaza or York Marketplace or call us at (717) 764-2024.
Image credits: Top © karelnoppe photography/Fotolia; 2nd © Monkey Business/Fotolia; 3rd © Voyagerix/Fotolia; 4th © Burlingham/Fotolia;