More than 17 teens die on a typical day on American roads during June, July and August – the three months with the highest teen crash rates. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 6,000 teens die in car crashes every year, a statistic that hasn’t changed in more than a decade. While research shows that both parents and teens believe alcohol is the cause of most crashes involving teen drivers, the primary causes of most teen crashes – between 2003 and 2005 – was driver error (87 percent).
A study released last week by Allstate Insurance Company identifies “hotspots” where fatal teen driving crash rates are highest. The study examines recent federal crash statistics, Allstate claims data on teen collisions, and U.S. Census bureau statistics to score metro areas across the nation on rates of fatal crashes involving teen drivers. The “Allstate America’s Teen Driving Hotspots” study found that the 10 deadliest hotspots among the nation’s 50 largest metro areas are concentrated in the southern United States and include three in Florida.
The study also found that, across the U.S., fatal crash rates for teens are double in rural areas compared to cities and suburbs. Nationally, of the 43,437 fatal crashes involving teen drivers from 2000 through 2005, 29,998 were in metro areas. But the average rate of fatal teen crashes in rural areas nationally is 51.5 annually per 100,000 teens, compared to 25.4 in metro areas. The greatest disparities in rural over metro crash rates was seen in Florida, with Delaware and Utah also posting significant differences.
Of particular concern to Colorado families, Denver is first in the nation for fatal alcohol- and drug-related car crashes involving teenagers. When drugs and alcohol aren’t factors, however, the city ranks 60th for crashes that kill teens, the survey of the nation’s 100 largest metro regions indicated.
The study reports that in 42.5 percent of the Denver metro region’s fatal teen crashes speed is a cause, 21.2 percent involve alcohol, and 10.6 percent are drug-related. Failure to wear a seatbelt was a factor in 38.1 percent of the fatalities. Sixty-five per cent of the teenage victims in Colorado fatal crashes are boys, the study found. Fifteen-year-olds in Colorado make up 4.7 percent of the victims; 18.1 percent are 16-year-olds; 23 percent are 17-year-olds; 27.5 percent are 18-year-olds, and 26.7 percent are 19-year-olds.