02 February 2007

Teen Driving Rules Save Lives

There is strong evidence that a law restricting teen driver's licenses that went into effect on July 1, 2005 has reduced teen driving fatalities by about a third. This is three teen lives saved every month in the state.

The lives saved (and this doesn't even count the lives of non-teenagers killed in accidents involving teenagers) make the inconvenience teenage drivers face as a result of new graduated driver's license restrictions worth it.

Not Surprising Given The Data

The evidence is overwhelming that very young and very old drivers are at much higher risk of being involved in fatality accidents than other drivers.

Driver's aged 16-22 and older than 76 years old have at least twice the average driver's risk of autombile accident fatalities (it is more than triple the average risk for drivers age 19 and aged 80 or older). The risk of being in a fatality accident is elevated between 50% and 100% for drivers aged 23-25 and aged 73-75. Drivers aged 30 to 67 have a risk 5% to 25% lower than average.

Male drivers are also much more of a threat than female drivers.

Women aged 16-17 and aged 79 or older have double the average risk of automobile accident fatalities (women age 81 and older have at least triple the risk). Women aged 18-21 and aged 74-78 are at a 50%-100% increased risk (the data has a couple of outliers, 20 year old women are a little safer than their 18-21 peers, while age 77 is a little more dangerous than their 74-78 year old peers). Women aged 23-70 are 5% to about 55% safer than average.

Men aged 16-25 and aged 76 or older have double the average risk of automobile accident fatalities (men aged 16-22 and aged 80 and older have at least triple the risk; ). Men aged 26 and aged 73-75 are at a 50%-100% increased risk. Men aged are 5% to about safer than average. Men 30-67 tend to have an average risk of automobile accident fatalties although the data jumps around quite about around the average.

The Governor's Proposal

Governor Ritter has proposed a new law that would ban cell phone use by drivers under the age of eighteen. I support that too. I've seen the consequences when a teen driver in Jefferson County mowed down two young women in a crosswalk, driving through a red light, probably because he was distracted by a cell phone in car. Accidents like that don't need to be repeated, and avoiding even a small number of accidents like that is worth it.

No comments: