Des Moines, IOWA — Today’s youth are busier and more engaged than ever. Unfortunately,
35% of teens deaths are due to motor vehicle accidents
this also means they have more things to distract them, especially while driving. Iowa’s young drivers travel many miles in all kinds of weather over local, state, interstate and rural roads. Many of these miles are traveled before and after school, as well as late at night after work or sporting events.
October 16-23, 2011, is a week dedicated to raising awareness and seeking solutions to unnecessary teen deaths on the road. Established by Congress in 2007, and held annually on the third week of October, the goal of National Teen Driver Safety Week is to focus the country’s attention toward promoting safety to our teen drivers.
Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths. And research shows teen drivers are at a greater risk of injury and death than all other age groups. In Iowa, drivers aged 15-20 make up about 9% of Iowa licensed drivers. In 2010, there were 46 fatal crashes involving 51 teen drivers of passenger vehicles. The number of fatalities totaled 54. This is an increase in teen crash and fatality stats from 2009. According to a report published by the University of Iowa’s Public Policy Center, Iowa ranks 49th out of 50 states with regards to teen driving safety statistics and conditions.
As in previous years, education and safety leaders are focused on reducing distractions for teen drivers, as well as an emerging topic of rural road safety. Sadly, Monday night during Teen Driver Safety Week, a car full of 6 teenagers crashed on a rural Iowa road taking the life of one teen. Let this tragic incident compel you to talk to a teen in your life about safe driving.
To learn more about the state of teen driving in Iowa and across the country, view the Governor’s Traffic Safety Bureau Teen Driver Fact Sheet. You can also visit us on Facebook.
(DPS Press Release, Tue., Oct. 18th)