Teen nighttime driving risks increase

Posted on May 14, 2010

The Texas Transport Institute reports that the proportion of nighttime fatal crashes involving drivers ages 16 to 19 has increased 10 percent nationwide from 1999 to 2008. For drivers 20 years of age and older, the rate of fatal crashes at night rose almost 8 percent for the same time span.

Talking and texting on a cell phone is most likely the primary cause for the increase in fatalities in the teenage driver group. For the increase in the older group, alcohol use is most likely to blame.

Driving at night already increases risks with lower visibility and slower response due to driver fatigue. Adding cell phone use and inexperienced drivers into the mix makes for an even more dangerous situation.

The number of total fatal crashes occurring both during the day and at night dropped in the last ten years, but the proportion of these crashes occurring at night has increased. Just under 50 percent of fatal crashes involved teen drivers.

Many teenagers start using cell phones before they start driving. Their comfort and familiarity with the technology leads many to believe that they can easily multitask, even while operating a motor vehicle. Teenagers are also less likely to see nighttime driving as an increased risk situation, research shows.

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