• Apr 10, 2008
Nobody would argue that the potential for lost-life is the worst thing about teen crashes, but the related monetary expenses are also rather staggering. AAA estimates that teen crashes ended up costing more than $34 billion annually in medical expenses, lost work, property damage, quality of life loss and other related costs in 2006 alone. According to AAA, fifteen to seventeen year-old drivers were involved in nearly a million crashes in 2006, injuring 406,427 people and killing 2,541. Each fatality carries an average cost of $3.841 million while injury accidents post an average of $50,512.

According to their research, AAA suggests that states should take up graduated driver licensing strategies, which they say are proven to reduce fatal crashes involving teen drivers by an average of 38 percent. Browse through the press release after the break for the whole set of sad statistics.

[Source: AAA]

PRESS RELEASE

AAA calls for improved graduated driver licensing to counter nearly one
million crashes involving 15- to 17-year-olds annually

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2008 -- A first-ever analysis from AAA finds that
crashes involving teen drivers ages 15 to 17 cost American society more
than $34 billion annually in medical expenses, lost work, property damage,
quality of life loss and other related costs in 2006.

"The impact of a teen crash extends beyond the emotional tragedies and
physical injury at the crash scene, with costs that can extend to
employers, families, the government and society overall," said AAA
President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. "These economic figures provide one
more reason for legislators to improve graduated driver licensing in their
states - a proven measure governments can take to reduce the deadly toll of
teen driver crashes."

Comprehensive graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems ease teens into
driving through a combination of mandatory practice and limited driving at
night and with peer passengers. Comprehensive GDL systems have been shown
to reduce fatal crashes involving teen drivers by an average of 38 percent.
AAA is a leading advocate for teen driver safety issues and remains
committed to encouraging states to improve upon their graduated driver
licensing (GDL) systems.

According to the analysis conducted by the Pacific Institute for
Research and Evaluation for AAA, drivers ages 15 to 17 in 2006 were
involved in about 974,000 crashes, injuring 406,427 people and killing
2,541.

The $34.4 billion cost in 2006 included $9.8 billion in cost from fatal
crashes, with an average cost of $3.841 million per fatality. Injury
crashes averaged $50,512, with their large numbers producing a total cost
of $20.5 billion - more than twice the cost of fatal crashes. Property
damage crashes accounted for the remaining $4.1 billion in cost.

"Some of these costs are paid directly by government through Medicaid,
police, paramedics and courts. Many other costs - like lost wages, traffic
delay and reduced quality of life - don't show up directly, but also
reflect the very large, very real cost of crashes involving teen drivers,"
said Darbelnet. "States that improve their graduated driver licensing
programs will reduce crashes, injuries, and deaths for road users of all
ages and reduce crash-related costs that are paid by the state, too."

The cost of teen crashes was calculated using modeling that researchers
at PIRE have used for economic analysis for the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration. The analysis draws upon a broad range of databases
and research involving crashes, injury types, medical costs by state and
more.


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  • 23 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      They just need to start driving earlier. Then pre-teen crashes will drive down the teen crashes costing us more.

      • 6 Years Ago
      There are two major issues that play a role here.

      1. We are caught up in a major arms race, when it comes to the automobile.

      2. Idiotic parents that see it fit to buy snazzy sports cars or worse, lumbering SUVs and flip their kid the keys.

      My daughter has had her permit for almost a year now. I have taken her out on several occasions for driving lessons. As expected, she makes mistakes, I calmly make mention of her blowing the stop sign leaving the mall. She has a hissy-fit that I was picking on her and that she would prefer if I would pay for her to get driving lessons and not try to teach her myself. Well, she does not drive my car anymore, and when she can afford to pay for lessons, she can have them.

      P.S. I have thought at least 20 different people to drive, including my wife. So I know that it is not my teaching.

      • 6 Years Ago
      The driving age should be moved up to 17.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I hate the people lump all teenagers together. I was and always have been a safe driver, I have never been in a wreck, and technically have never even gotten a ticket. I barely fall in the 16-21 age bracket insurance companies sometimes use but I am a VERY safe driver and take the responsibility very seriously.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't know about the rest of the world, but I think it is too easy to get a license in North America. It really has nothing to do with age, and more about being new to driving and quality of government testing.

      I'm in Canada, and I didn't study for G1 (written) which took under 5 minutes and got perfect at 16 yrs old. My G2 (driven) test took 5 minutes and my full G (driven) took 8 minutes.

      I had countless exams in high school exceeding 2 hours on useless things like Shakespeare and To Kill a Mockingbird, yet, for me to get my full driver's permit it took me under 20 minutes for all 3 government tests.

      Even if you raise the age of when you can get a license, there will still be the same problem... new drivers need to be more educated and should have more strict testing.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Reading should be a joy. Reading the right things is a joy.

        Forcing archaic, boring drivel like Shakespeare on teenagers at what amounts to gunpoint has done more to keep them out of the libraries in their adult lives than all the shows on the idiot box put together.

        Like taking someone who has never tasted alcohol before, starting them off on shots of Laphroaig, and then wondering why they never drink again.
          • 6 Years Ago
          Yes that is me. Myself, along with basically everyone I know around my age (25 - 30) hates reading books. There was way too much of it for us. In fact, I've only had one unit on grammar (in grade 7), and no testing on it, which is something that is much more important than reading old stories.

          I'm sure if schools didn't force so much reading on students, especially pressuring them to read in front of peers, that reading would be more popular as a hobby. I just have bad experiences with it and hate to think about it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        While I agree the testing in North America is painfully inadequate, to hear Shakespeare and To Kill A Mockingbird referred to as "useless" only reminds me why American Idol is the top form of entertainment.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Here's an Idea... increase driving age to 25, totally remove us stupid street racing punks from getting our licence at an immature age. If we want to get around, we will just ask our mommy to drive us to where we wanna go. If they don't then we will cry because it is our fault for all the crashes us idiot teen drivers have caused.
        • 6 Years Ago
        PLEASE tell me that was sarcasm...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Okay half my post vanished so here it is again?

      I'm 18, a car nut, but don't have my license yet... Why? Can't afford driving school. I care too much about cars to want to risk ruining mine. And I don't plan on buying a beater either. Something I like will make me want to take care of it, rather than a cheap throw away.
      • 6 Years Ago
      You don't need a study to know teenagers driving like teenagers are a menace second only to geezers driving like geezers and milfs glued to their phones.

      Yet the only traffic enforcement you ever see is revenue ticketing against speeders and drunks.

      You'd almost think they had a racket going on or something.
      • 6 Years Ago
      One thing that has occurred since I received my license some 20 years ago is the increase in power of the vehicles driven by the average teenager. I am very thankful that I had a POS when I was younger or I would have surely been in more trouble as well as more accidents. I know old vehicles had a lot of power, but they had the weight and size to match. Who knows, maybe I am wrong on this.
      • 6 Years Ago
      All that AAA is, beyond the roadside assistance and maps, is an insurance company. That's it. AAA is not an association of American drivers, or automotive enthusiasts or car owners or anything, other than an insurance company.

      Listening to what AAA has to say about road safety is like listening to AARP* on Social Security or the Trial Lawyers Bar on tort reform. Which is to say that they have a dog in this hunt, so read between the lines.


      *AARP is not an association of retired Americans, it is an insurance and investment company that sends out a monthly magazine and has managed to trick gramps into thinking they are more concerned with his prosperity than their bottom line.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Beter instructions would help and tougher testing needs to be applied, I think Germany has a strick way of getting a licence, maybe we could do that but at a ealier age, people are going to drive and starting ealier or later won't matter much as it is still how many hours behind the wheel. Like a pilot they have to have so many hours of training and flying time to fly certain aircraft.
      In 1982 I got my license at 16. Drove my mom's 1972 Olds Delta 88 4 door! Real big tank but could fit 6 people easily. I used to cut my grandparents lawn when I could reach the pedals on the riding mower.
      I think that really help me learn to drive. I also got to drive the cars around my grandparents yard that had a big oval driveway.
      That too was a good lesson in driving. When I was 16 I got to drive my parents and everyone else around and they were real comfortable with me driving and I even drove from North Carolina to NYC a few
      times with just me and my sister when I was 17 she was 15! I think
      getting started early in life from the little electric cars, riding mowers and such helps with driving when you get your license. I even drove big farm tractors when I was 12 on the road.
      My sister on the other had did not cut the grass or really care about
      driving until she was 16 and was a very scary driver. Right now I
      have a 2 and 4 year old. I have a good size yard to let the kids
      roam around in there peddle and electric cars. When they get older
      they will cut the grass on a riding mower and we will move up to go
      carts and such. As a parent I want to prepare my kids for the real
      world as much as I can. I might cringe when they drive at 16 but I have to let them try as they will be out the door soon and on there own, hopefully with a little knowledge and respect for the road and others around them.
      Later,
      E
      • 6 Years Ago
      How about states stop with the Cinderella licenses. It never made sense to me to limit a teens time on the road, lessening his driving experience during the day and completely eliminating any night driving experience, while still charge the same insurance rate as if he was driving 24-7.

      This coupled with the continuing trend of eliminating high school driver education, which only has the long-term effect of increasing the number of poorly educated drivers on the road each year.

      Yeah, I know, there are maturity issues when dealing with teens and cars, but I can't help but think we're seeing an increase in accidents and monetary damages taking place as these programs become increasingly popular across the country.
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