Deborah Burke Henderson, SADD
Glenn Greenberg, Liberty Mutual
Jennifer Heeseler, LIME Public Relations
STATISTICS THAT MAY BRING TEENS TO A HALT
Annual Liberty Mutual/SADD Teen Driving Study Reveals
Potential Reasons for High Summer Fatality Rate
(July 23, 2003) Oh, to be a teenager with a car during the
summer. No school, late nights and the joys of cruising the highways
and byways with friends.
Unfortunately, this seemingly innocent scenario turns tragic more often
than most of us would like to believe. New survey results from Liberty
Mutual and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) indicate that
teens succumb to more risky in-vehicle behaviors during the summer months
that lead to crashes, serious injuries and, oftentimes, deaths, than
during the school year. This data sheds light on why motor vehicle crashes
remain the number-one cause of death* among young people in America.
According to the 2003 Liberty Mutual/SADD Teen Driving survey, as conducted
Driving Teen drivers average 44 percent more hours behind the
wheel each week during the summer (23.6 hours) than during the school
year (16.4 hours).
23 percent of teen drivers are more likely to drive with three
or more teens in the car in the summer, compared to 6 percent of teen
drivers who are more likely to do so during the school year;
Nights 72 percent of all teens report they stay out later during
the summer than the school year. Additionally, 47 percent of teen
drivers are more likely to drive late at night during the summer,
compared to 6 percent of teen drivers who are more likely to drive
late at night during the school year; and,
Eyelids 24 percent of teen drivers are more likely to drive
when tired or sleepy during the summer, compared to 9 percent of teen
drivers who are more likely to drive fatigued during the school year.
is a recipe for disaster young, inexperienced drivers spending
more time behind the wheel, and engaging in the risky driving behaviors
that lead to accidents, serious injuries and worse, deaths," said
Paul Condrin, Liberty Mutual executive vice president and manager, Personal
Market. "And, many teen drivers about one-third according
to our survey compound the problem by adding drugs and alcohol
to the mix."
Driving Most Deadly for Teens
The Liberty Mutual/SADD survey results provide supporting evidence of
recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics that
show that more teens die in car crashes during the summer months (June
through September) than any other time of the year. Of the 6,434 youth
(ages 15-20) car crash fatalities in 2000, July saw more deaths (644)
than any other month, followed by June (600), September (590) and August
While there is a higher prevalence of multiple teens in a vehicle in
the summer months than during the school year, "piling-in"
always is a concern with this age group. In fact, the survey found that
only 7 percent of teens report they never drive with three
or more teens in the car, regardless of time of year.
to the most recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study
on crash rates by the number of passengers across different driver age
groups, crash rates for teens rise significantly as the number of passengers
increases. This is especially true for the most inexperienced drivers
(16- and 17-year-olds). In 1999, 16- and 17-year-old teens driving with
no passengers were involved in 1.6 crashes per 10,000 trips, yet the
rate rises to 2.3 crashes with one passenger, 3.3 crashes with two passengers,
and sharply rises to 6.3 crashes with three or more passengers in the
car. This latter number is three times greater than the crash rate per
10,000 trips for 18- and 19-year-old teens driving with three or more
Driving a Danger
According to 2001 IIHS data, more than a quarter (27 percent) of all
teen driving deaths, ages 16-19, occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and
2 a.m. Teens report they stay out later during the summer months meaning,
in the absence of state licensing laws that restrict the time of day
when they can drive, they are potentially driving their vehicles in
a more tired physical and mental state. Additionally, the Liberty Mutual/SADD
survey finds teens often drive tired or sleepy regardless of time of
year, with only 20 percent of all teen drivers reporting they would
never do this.
results speak to parents about the importance of setting expectations
for their teen before handing over the keys to the car, discussing those
expectations, and, above all, ensuring they are being met," said
Stephen Wallace, SADD chairman & CEO. "Its natural for
parents to lighten up during the summer when it comes to
their teens behaviors later curfews, fewer responsibilities,
less accountability for their whereabouts. But parents need to beware
of the flip side of the coin their kids are spending much of
their summers cruising around at all hours with a carload of friends."
The Liberty Mutual/SADD Teen Driving study also found additional risky
behaviors, regardless of time of year:
talk on a cell phone while driving only 15 percent of teen
drivers say they never do this; and,
speed only 13 percent of teen drivers say they never
do this; and,
Liberty Mutual and SADD make available several parent-teen communication
tools to help teens make good decisions about their driving behaviors,
Collisions: How to Survive the Teenage Driving Years," a driving
safety program focusing on four areas of driving safety safety
belt use, speeding, night driving, and driving under the influence
of drugs and alcohol. The program offers families a free 15-minute
video and brochure by calling a local Liberty Mutual office or 1-800-4-LIBERTY.
Liberty Mutual lists its local sales offices at www.libertymutualinsurance.com.
Contract for Life and Opening Life-Saving Lines brochures, both available
Mutuals Family Communications Tips brochure, also available
online at both sites.
Liberty Mutual and SADD annually collaborate on Teens Today,
a program that studies and reports on teens behaviors, attitudes
and decision-making about such issues as driving, drinking, drug use,
sexual activity and family/peer relationships, and provides solutions
for families to address these issues. A subset of the Teens Today
project is the Liberty Mutual/SADD Teen Driving Study, which in 2003
reports on the completion of a total of 2,753 self-administered surveys
by middle and high school students in grades six through 12. Responses
specific to driving behaviors are based on the responses of 319 students
with a valid drivers license. RoperASW designed the surveys and
administered them in a nationwide cross-section of 46 schools (25 middle
schools; 21 high schools) between May 6 and June 18, 2003. The sampling
error for the study at the 95 percent confidence level is +/- 3 percentage
points for the total sample, and +/- 6 percentage points for the driver
sample. Additional findings from qualitative research (focus groups
and individual interviews) designed and conducted by Atlantic Research,
Inc., in April 2003 were used in the development of the student survey.
Inc. sponsors peer-to-peer education and prevention programs in middle
schools and high schools nationwide.
Boston-based Liberty Mutual Group is one of the largest multi-line insurers
in the North American property and casualty industry. Offering a wide
range of products and services, Liberty Mutual is a top-10 provider
of private passenger auto and homeowners insurance.
Source National Highway Traffic Safety Administration