New report urges parent-teen cooperation to reduce speed-related road crashes

A new report by the Governor’s Highway Safety Association and the Ford Motor Company Fund shows that teenagers are more likely to die in speed-related car crashes than the rest of the population.

The results come from an analysis of statistics during a five-year period ending in 2019. The report does not include information from the past year, but notes that speed-related crashes among all drivers have spiked due to less road congestion stemming from virus-related shutdowns.

The report’s writers stressed that it is more important than ever for parents to tutor new drivers on the dangers of speeding while in the car.

The study found that 43% of teens aged 16 to 19 who died in fatal crashes were speeding. That compares to speeding being related to 30% of fatal crashes in all other driver age groups.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said road crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. The fatal crash rate for teens aged 16 and 17 is about three times the rate for drivers 20 and older.

The report also said the risk is highest for 16-year-olds, and teen drivers pose a greater danger to others on the road.

The long-standing problem isn’t hopeless, according to the report, and there’s much that can be done to lower the risk for teen drivers, their passengers and those with whom they share the road.

Among the report’s recommendations are parent-teen driving agreements, online training and in-vehicle safety technology. The report emphasized that parents may be more distracted then usual due to extra burdens brought on by the pandemic, but they should focus on working closely with teenagers on the verge of getting behind the wheel.

In-vehicle monitoring of teen drivers can also be effective if parents use the information to coach their teen drivers.

Also, smartphone apps can be employed in efforts to slow teen drivers. One of the apps the report cites, Life360, gives parents ability to monitor teen driving in real time.

State Farm also offers an app-based discount program for teens called Steer Clear, which is meant to improve driving skills.

Dick Uliano

Whether anchoring the news inside the Glass-Enclosed Nerve Center or reporting from the scene in Maryland, Virginia or the District, Dick Uliano is always looking for the stories that really impact people's lives.

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