Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. Among policyholders, they are at the highest risk for accidents. That is why auto insurance providers charge them very high rates when applying for policies. US Congress acknowledges this fact and has initiated a safety campaign two years ago that aims at educating teens about safer driving. This year’s National Teen Driver Safety Week focuses on encouraging American teenagers to become good passengers in order not to distract their fellow teen drivers. Safety specialists note that the more passengers a teen driver travels with, the higher his risks for meeting an accident becomes.
National Teen Driver Safety Week is celebrated each October throughout the United States. This year’s celebration falls from October 19 to 25, with a special focus on teen passengers. A new program called Ride Like a Friend encourages teens to be good passengers while their friends are behind the wheels. In order to “ride like a friend”, teenagers are advised to minimize distractions, wear their seatbelts, and provide help when needed.
This year’s initiative was supported by a nationwide auto insurance company headquartered in Illinois and by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). According to traffic safety experts in CHOP, teens are facing very high risks for car crashes when driving with fellow teens. For this reason, they advise new drivers to clock in 1,000 miles or wait six months before picking up passengers.
Researches compiled by CHOP reveals that teen drivers double their accident risk when riding with at least one passenger. Driving with three or more passengers increases fatal crash risks four to five times.
The scientific director at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention for CHOP said teens were interviewed in order to come up with this year’s program. She added that teens who responded offered very practical ways to help their friends focus while driving and minimize risks for accidents. Teens also said that for them, being good passengers is all about respecting their friends.
Federal government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that motor vehicle crashes still remain the number cause of death among teenagers with one in three fatalities for the age group. In 2005, more than 4,500 teens died because of road crashes or injuries sustained from them.
The high level of risks among young motorists causes auto insurance providers to charge them with very high premium rates. In several US states, drivers 19 years old and below pay almost $1,600 on vehicle premium rates, the highest among any age bracket.