New Report Finds Twice as Many Teens Die on Roads in Summer Months


A new report shows that teens are in greater danger on the road during the summer months. Read on for the latest data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System:

Although it may be the most joyous time of year for teens, summer can also be the most deadly. Today, leading transportation and traffic safety experts released an analysis of the latest data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System that reveals the deadliest days of the year for teens aged 15-19 are in the upcoming summer months of May, June, July and August. During these four months, nearly twice as many teens died on the roads each day as compared to the rest of the year. Safety advocates released this data in recognition of the first-ever worldwide Decade of Action for Road Safety (2011-2020) and National Youth Traffic Safety Month across the U.S. Wearing the new worldwide symbol of safety, the yellow road safety "Tag", youth leaders are gathering today at the U.S. Capitol and around the country with health and safety experts to take action against traffic deaths.

"Today, at the launch of the first-ever Decade of Action for Road Safety, occurring in over 100 cities worldwide, it is time for all of us to take action to save lives at home and around the globe"
The United Nations is launching the Decade of Action for Road Safety in the face of a worldwide epidemic of road deaths. Even though there has been progress in reducing overall fatalities in the U.S., motor vehicle crashes still remain the leading cause of death of young people, both in the U.S. and worldwide.

Analysis of 2009 FARS data (for 15-19 year-old fatalities) show:

  • During the four summer months in May through August, nearly twice the number of youth died on our roads--an average of nearly 16 deaths per day (15.9)--compared to an average of nearly nine deaths (8.8) per day during the year as whole.
  • Three times as many teens died on the deadliest day of 2009 (May 23) compared to the average the number of deaths per day for the year (25 deaths on May 23 compared to an average of nearly nine deaths per day (8.8).
  • 6 of the top 7 deadliest days for youth occur in May, June, July and August.

In addition, of all the days in which more than the average number of teens died (days in which there were at least 10 deaths), 42% of the deadly days were during the four months of May through August, which is a disproportionate share (a proportionate share would be 33% for four months). Of the safest days, when five (5) or fewer youth died on the roads, less than 17% of those days fell during the four month period of summer. Overall a total of 3,214 teens died in 2009, as drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

"Youth face many challenges on the road--from impaired and distracted driving to the need for more safe routes for walking and biking, but young people have the power to educate both their peers and adults, about safe driving and safer roads," said Sandy Spavone, Executive Director of National Organizations for Youth Safety, comprised of the leading safety organizations with an interest in youth, "National Youth Traffic Safety Month and this launch of the Decade of Action marks a time when youth are particularly vulnerable."

Road crashes are set to become responsible for more deaths worldwide than even HIV/AIDs over the next 10 years. Traffic safety advocate note that it is the increased vehicle miles traveled in summer time, when youth are out of school and driving with other teens that contribute to the greater number of deaths from May to August.

"There is no better time than this worldwide launch for crashes to be recognized as a public health threat like malaria or tuberculosis, especially for young people. " said Bella Dinh-Zarr, PhD, the North American Director of the Make Road Safe Campaign and organizer of the U.S. Decade of Action. "We vaccinate young children to keep them safe against diseases, so once they are teenagers, we shouldn't let them go unprotected against their greatest threat: dying on the road. One of the best vaccines for teens is stronger Graduated Driver Licensing laws."

At events in the U.S. and over 50 other countries, traffic safety and public health experts will begin a 10 year commitment to reducing the 1.3 million annual deaths on the roads. At the Washington, DC, launch, several new traffic safety tools and efforts will be released including: Prize-winning materials created by teens such as a distracted driving PSA and anti-drugged driving poster distributed nationwide on social media platforms. Targeting the younger audience, three Sesame Street PSAs featuring Grover as the new Road Safety Ambassador will be screened and distributed worldwide. The first-ever Safe Routes to School Noteworthy Practices Guide will also be released.

"Today, at the launch of the first-ever Decade of Action for Road Safety, occurring in over 100 cities worldwide, it is time for all of us to take action to save lives at home and around the globe," said Norman Mineta, Chairman of Make Roads Safe North America and the longest serving Secretary of Transportation in U.S. history, "Together we can save millions of lives."

Article courtesy of Businesswire.