Teen Driving Study Key Messages
school and middle school students overwhelmingly say their parents
are or will be the biggest influence on their driving behaviors:
- Nearly 60 percent of high school students and 69 percent of
middle school students
driving habits, as observed by their teens, suggest parents are modeling
- Almost two thirds of high school teens (62 percent) say their
parents talk on a cell phone while driving; almost half (48 percent)
say their parents speed; and a third (31 percent) say their parents
dont wear a safety belt.
say they now, or expect to, follow similar driving practices as their
- 62 percent of high school drivers say they talk on a cell phone
while driving, and approximately half of both high school teens
who dont yet drive (52 percent) and middle school students
(47 percent) say they will.
- 67 percent of high school drivers say they speed. Interestingly,
most high school teens who dont yet drive (65 percent) and
middle school students (79 percent) say they wont.
- 33 percent of high school drivers say they dont wear their
safety belts. High school teens who dont yet drive (28 percent)
and middle school students (20 percent) are less likely to say
out of ten (89 percent) teens consider themselves "safe"
drivers. Yet many teens dont consider risky behaviors dangerous.
- 27 percent of all high school students and 33 percent of middle
school students think speeding is safe.
- 25 percent of all high school students and 29 percent of middle
school students think driving without a safety belt is safe.
- 24 percent of all high school students and 32 percent of middle
school students think driving while talking on a cell phone is
are these driving behaviors dangerous?
- Speeding is a factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes, killing
an average 1,000 Americans each month (Insurance Institute for
- Speeding is a factor in 37 percent of all young driver deaths
(National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Nearly four
in five drivers (79 percent) in the U.S. wore their safety belts
in 2003, yet safety belt use was only 60 percent in vehicle crashes
involving fatalities (NHTSA).
- Drivers in a self-reported study by NHTSA estimated nearly 300,000
crashes from 1998-2002 were the result of cell phone use.
findings that support Graduated Drivers Licensing:
- According to NHTSA, young drivers make up less than 7 percent
of the driving population yet account for nearly 15 percent of
the drivers involved in fatal crashes. These statistics are traditionally
attributed to the combination of young driver inexperience, adolescent
impulsiveness and great risk exposure (driving at night, and with
- Graduated licensing is a system designed to "phase in"
young, beginning drivers to full driving privileges as they mature
and develop their driving skills. Graduated licensing has been
introduced in many U.S. states, yet the IIHS only rates nine states
as having "good" young driver licensing laws.
- Effective graduated licensing laws include a minimum six month
learners permit, followed by restrictions on the time of
day teens can drive (no later than 10 p.m. and no earlier than
5 a.m.), and the number of passengers allowed when unsupervised.
- Piling In:
- Driving at night is common among nearly all high school
drivers (93 percent), yet very few young people (5 percent
of high school students and 10 percent of middle school students)
consider night driving "unsafe."
- According to the IIHS most recent study (1999) on
crash rates by the number of passengers across different age
groups, the more people in a car the greater the likelihood
of a crash, especially for the youngest, most inexperienced
drivers (16- and 17-year-olds):
Crashes per 10,000 trips
- Driving at Night:
- Nearly two in three high school teen drivers (64 percent)
say they drive with more than three people in the car, and
28 percent think this is "safe."
- According to the 2002 IIHS data, 41 percent of all teen
driving deaths, ages 16-19, occur between the hours of 9 p.m.
and 6 a.m. Studies show nighttime driving restrictions for
teens are associated with crash reductions of up to 60 percent
during restricted hours.
compiled from results of nearly 3,600 self-administered surveys
of middle and high school students, grades 6-12.
represented 41 schools (21 middle, 20 high) countrywide.
Mutual and SADD have been partners in teen driving safety since
the early 1990s with the inception of the "Avoiding Collisions"
program a video, brochure and teachers kit that focuses
on four areas of safety: speeding, safety belt use, driving under
the influence of alcohol or other drugs, and night driving.
"Avoiding Collisions" video is available free by calling
materials include SADDs Contract for Life, available at
www.sadd.org, and SADD/Liberty Mutuals "Family Communications
Tips" brochure, available at www.sadd.org and www.libertymutualinsurance.com.
2000, Liberty Mutual and SADD published its first Teens Today
report: an annual study of teen decision-making in the areas of
driving, drug and alcohol use, and sexual activity. We will be
releasing the results of the fifthTeens Today study this