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.
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
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