NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 18, 2006

New teenage drivers are more dangerous than previously thought: Nearly two of every three people killed in crashes involving 15- to 17-year-old drivers are people other than the driver, auto club AAA will announce today.

Teenagers have long been the riskiest on the road. AAA's analysis shows that unlike elderly drivers, who mostly kill themselves when they crash, new teen drivers involved in wrecks have an impact far beyond their own families.

  • Crashes from 1995 through 2004 involving drivers 15 to 17 killed 30,917 people, according to the AAA's analysis of data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
  • About 64 percent of the deaths were passengers, people in other vehicles or pedestrians.
  • Teen drivers killed occupants of other vehicles at a rate almost five times as high as elderly drivers and about three times as high as 45- to 49-year-old drivers, according to an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety analysis of federal data from 1993 through 1997.

AAA plans to use the findings to push state legislators to enact tougher teen-licensing laws. Thirty-two states restrict whom new teen drivers can transport and when they can drive.

The Insurance Institute study says teenagers' risk of dying in a crash nearly doubles when one male passenger is in the car; it more than doubles when two or more young male passengers are in the car.

Source: Jayne O'Donnell, "Risk of teen drivers reaches others," USA Today, January 18, 2006.

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