Unifying Alabama's Traffic Safety Efforts
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Young Driver Issues

Click Here to View the CAPS Analysis of Young Drivers in Alabama 

A message to young drivers. This is an exciting time of your lives -- you have so much to look forward to. We know that the very last thing you want to do is to ruin it all by getting hurt or hurting someone else in a car crash. Nevertheless, young drivers (ages 16-20) caused over 15,500 crashes in just one year (2009) in Alabama. That is on average about a crash every 15 minutes during normal driving hours.

In 2009 these crashes resulted in 63 deaths and injured almost 4500. But these numbers are meaningless if they do not get you to realize that it can, and almost certainly will happen to you if you do not do something now to establish some basic habits to prevent it.

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Alabaster Teen Killed in I-65 S, Crash Was Texting While Driving
WIAT CBS: Less than a week after 17-year-old Camryn Callaway lost her life in a wreck on I-65 S just past the Pelham "tank farm" exit 242, Pelham Police have confirmed to CBS 42 what caused the crash: texting while driving. Callaway, a senior at Thompson High School, was killed when her vehicle ran into the back of an 18 wheeler last Thursday night. Her family and friends are heartbroken, but are speaking out to CBS 42 in the hopes that Camryn's tragic death will serve as a warning to others.

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Young Novice Driver Collision Types
IAM RoadSmart: Spiking at licensure, young novice driver crash risk reduces with age and experience in the subsequent months and years. Experience gained through on-road driving in particular results in a dramatic reduction in crash risk in early licensure. However, it is not clear what is being learned during this period to make drivers safer. The international research domain is turning its attention to trying to understand what is being learned by drivers during this period. Such knowledge can help inform policy and intervention development.

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Graduated Driver Licensing: Not A One-Size-Fits-All Approach
UNC HSRC: Graduated driver licensing, the licensing system nearly all U.S. states have in place to help high-school-age novice drivers get driving experience and limit driving in risky conditions, has reduced crash rates among 16- and 17-years-olds. In view of the well-documented effectiveness of GDL, some advocates have begun pushing to extend GDL requirements to those who begin driving at 18 and older.

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Summary of Findings from CAPS Young Driver Study (Updated with 2016 Data)
The following are considered to be the most important findings of a study of 16-20 year old drivers from the point of view or countermeasure development:

  • Crash Causal Factors
    • Over-represented items are largely risk-taking behaviors that are highly associated younger drivers: Driving too Fast for Conditions, Following too Close, Over the Speed Limit, Misjudge Stopping Distance, and Failure to Yield that Right of Way.
    • Two-thirds of young drivers’ crashes involve two or more vehicles.  However, their over-representation in single vehicle crashes show an excess of unforced errors and risk-taking.
    • Electronic devices have the highest causal rank among distracted driving types that are defined.
    • Rain was a particular issue for young drivers, their having over 26% more than their expected number of crashes in the rain (in comparison with older drivers).
  • Severity Factors
    • Crashes with impact speeds from 70 to 90 MPH were over-represented for young driver caused crashes.
    • Necessity for young-driver caused crashes to be towed is over-represented by 26%, indicating that these crashes are more severe in the physics involved than those caused by older drivers.
  • Time Factors
    • Year.  A regression to the mean resulted in an overall increase of 3.01% between 2014 and 2015, a trend that needs to be watched carefully.
    • Day of the Week.  Fridays and the weekends are over-represented for crashes caused by young drivers.
    • Time of Day.  Before and after school are significantly greater than the normal rush hours, and the significant afternoon over-representations continue through the midnight hour.  The most over-represented hours are from 9 PM through to 1 AM.
    • Time of Day by Day of the Week.  Friday night, early Saturday morning, and Saturday night, early Sunday morning were over-represented hours.  However, far more crashes occur before and after school hours.
  • Roadway and Vehicle Factors
    • Curve and Down Grades are particularly problematic for young drivers who have not yet experienced the fact that braking might take twice as long on a down slope.
    • Over-represented vehicle maneuvers included Negotiating a Curve and Slowing/Stopping.
    • Young drivers on county highways had nearly 1.4 times the expected number of crashes.  State routes were also over-represented.  Interstates were under-represented indicating the tendency of younger drivers to drive locally.  The red bars below represent young (16-20) drivers, while the blue bars represent all drivers older than 20.  
See the Full Analysis Here

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Rates of Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries, and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age
AAA: This Research Brief provides updated statistics on rates of crashes, injuries and death per mile driven in relation to driver age based on the most recent data available, from 2014-2015. Drivers ages 16-17 continue to have the highest rates of crash involvement, injuries to themselves and others and deaths of others in crashes in which they are involved. Drivers age 80 and older have the highest rates of driver deaths. Drivers ages 60-69 were the safest drivers by most measures examined.

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Accelerating Teen Driver Learning: Anywhere, Anytime Training
The Accelerated Curriculum to Create Effective Learning training program was developed to target relevant skills and crash types. Novice drivers are nine times more likely to crash during the first month of solo licensure than experienced drivers. The training program was designed to have open access, be downloadable from the internet anywhere and anytime at no expense and be usable on all devices.

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Summary of Graduated Driver License Law
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Oregon State University - "Distracted Driving" at an all-time high
Oregon State University has participated in a study of 3,000 teens studying distracted driving. Based on recent studies, anything that takes your attention away, any glance away from the road for two seconds or longer can increase the risk of an accident from four to 24 times

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AAA Foundation: Driver Training Module to Accelerate Driver Perceptual Expertise
Training module intended to accelerate the process of perceptual expertise for young, novice drivers.  This module deploys advanced learning technologies to help teen drivers learn more quickly, and is based on previously successful learning applications.

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Teen-Involved Crash Deaths Spike 10%, New Report Spotlights Older Teen Driver Behavior
Click Here to View Our GHSA Page to Read More About this Report.

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National Teen Driver Safety Week: October 16 - 22, 2016
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 19- year olds in the United States. In fact, in 2014 there were 2,679 teen (15 to 19) passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes and an estimated 123,000 teens were injured. Parents need to take the time to talk with their kids about the many dangers of driving. Those dangers include alcohol, lack of seat belt use, distracted driving, speeding, and extra passengers. These dangers are covered in the “5 to Drive” rules of the road.

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Most Nighttime Crashes With Teen Drivers Happen Before Midnight

Teens are driving unsupervised too late at night, a recent study suggests, and expanding restrictions on their nighttime driving to include the hours before midnight could save lives.

Ruth Shults, an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, says that getting a driver's license is an exciting rite of passage for teens. "But we also know that it can be a dangerous time for them," she says, because motor vehicle crashes kill more teens than anything else.

Driving in the dark is more difficult than driving during daylight hours, so every state but Vermont puts limits on teens' nighttime driving.

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Examining Teen Driver Behaviors Present in Motor Vehicle Crashes
AAA: Teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States.

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Traffic Safety Fact Sheet: Young Drivers
NHTSA: In 2014, there were 1,717 young drivers 15 to 20 years old who died in motor vehicle crashes, an increase of 1 percent from 1,697 in 2013. Additionally, an estimated 170,000 young drivers were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2014, a decrease of 4 percent from 177,000 in 2013.

Read More Facts Here

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