One of the key risk factors for teen driver crashes is the presence of peer passengers. One passenger doubles the risk of a crash, and two or more passengers lead to a five times greater risk of crash. As part of the CIRP@CHOP Teen Driver Safety Research Team and the principal investigator of simulator-based research and director of the simulator program, I have been exploring the detrimental impact of peer passengers on teen drivers with my research colleague, Noelle LaVoie, PhD at Parallel Consulting, with the goal of developing an engaging intervention that helps teens to reduce passenger-related distractions. We are in the process of developing a multi-player game as an intervention to address this issue.
May is Global Youth Traffic Safety Month™ (GYTSM) and the perfect time to remind parents and teens to promote safe driving and passenger behaviors during prom, graduation, and other special events that mark the end of the school year.
While motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens, we have made great strides in reducing the number of crashes involving teens behind the wheel. According to a new report released today by CIRP@CHOP and State Farm®, the number of teen driver-related fatalities declined 47 percent in the past six years from a total of 5,889 in 2005 to a total of 3,150 in 2011.
Since this past Sunday, we have lost 15 teenagers in teen driver related crashes in Ohio, Texas and Illinois. I had been preparing a post about the ESPNU Show “E:60” that aired a story Sunday about four members of a high school football team in Manheim, PA that died in a crash in January 2011. The quarterback, Caleb Walton, stepped forward to express his regret that he didn’t do more to stop his friends from making a fatal choice. I hope his courage is not in vain.