Nighttime and after school are high crash risk times for teens
When it comes to new and inexperienced drivers, nighttime and after school are the most dangerous time of day for traffic crashes nationally and in Michigan.
According to Michigan crash data, nearly 30 percent of crashes involving drivers age 16-20 occur in the after-school hours. More than 15,000 people were involved in a crash with a teen driver from 3-6 p.m. in 2012.
The highest numbers of fatal crashes involving teen drivers happen between 9 p.m. and midnight. In 2012, 34 people were killed, including 11 drivers who were 16-20 years old. “After school tends to include more travel for teen drivers, whether for school activities, jobs or hanging out with friends, so it is not surprising this time period has the highest number of crashes,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). “National Teen Driver Safety Week is a good opportunity for parents and teens to talk about reducing common crash risks by limiting the number of passengers, putting away cell phones, obeying traffic laws and wearing a seat belt.”
Teen drivers with Level 1 or Level 2 licenses under the Graduated Driver License program are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving. Teens with a Level 2 license also have enhanced driving restrictions after 10 p.m.
The data also show teen drivers have higher incidents of speed-related crashes than older drivers. They are also more likely than any other age group to crash because of following too close and being unable to stop in time.
Nationally, driver error is a contributing factor in two-thirds of fatal teen driver crashes.
To help reduce teen traffic crashes, fatalities and serious injuries, Michigan’s Strive For A Safer Drive (S4SD) program expanded in its third year. So far 35 schools in 15 counties are signed up for the program for the 2013-2014 school year including 14 first-time participants. The final deadline for applications is Nov. 1.
A public-private partnership between AAA Michigan, Ford Driving Skills for Life and OHSP, S4SD provides funding and resources to help teens talk to other teens about safe driving. For a list of participating schools, visit Michigan.gov\S4SD.