Auto Insurance Co. and Children’s Hospital Team Up to Address Teen Accident Rate

Car insurance provider State Farm and the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania have released a report highlighting the widespread impact that teenage accidents had on the public in 2008. Among the startling statistics compiled in the report were the total number of accidents involving teenage drivers that year–681,000–and the fact that nearly a third of the people who died in those accidents were not in the teenage drivers’ car.

Teenagers have long been considered a high risk car insurance group because they consistently get into crashes at higher rates than other demographics. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely to get into an accident per mile driven than any other age group.

Chart showing breakdown of fatalities in 2008 teen-driver crashes

Click chart to enlarge

One point that is emphasized in the new report is the impact that these accidents have beyond the teenage drivers themselves. Of the 4,358 fatalities that resulted from crashes in 2008 with teens behind the wheel, 41 percent of the victims were teenage drivers, about 31 percent were passengers and about 28 percent were either pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles.

“When most people think about those affected by teen driver crashes, they think of the teens behind the wheel. We must also consider the significant impact of these crashes on other members of our communities: occupants of other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other road-users,” said Dennis Durbin, who is a co-scientific director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania and a co-author of the report. “Whether we have a teen driver in our family or not, we should all care about this issue.”

The authors of the report identified four key practices that contributed to the occurrence of the fatal accidents and encourage lawmakers to create more stricter requirements that would temper their frequency.

According to the report, more than half of the fatal crashes involved speeding and failure to wear a seatbelt, and 38 percent involved a teen driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.01 or more.

One step that the car insurance provider and the children’s hospital advocate is stricter graduated licensing systems. These systems require new drivers to have more experience behind the wheel and to have greater restrictions on when and with whom they can drive for the first period of licensed driving.

The CDC said in a recent report documenting teen driver deaths that graduated licensing systems are at least partly attributable for a significant decline between 2004 and 2008 in the number of driving fatalities involving 16- and 17-year-olds.

About John Pirro
John Pirro is a licensed fire and casualty insurance agent specializing in various aspects of the auto insurance industry. He worked in the auto body repair industry before taking a reporting position at Online Auto Insurance News.

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