Teen Driving Safety
Although most teens wear seat belts and learn to drive safely, they are still at higher risk of critical errors due to skill deficiencies that lead to serious crashes. Other factors are lack of experience, and engaging in distractions and in risky driving behaviors. Our research tells us that most car crashes are preventable, not accidents waiting to happen. Alaska Injury Prevention Center works to reduce teen driver crashes by promoting acquisition of safe driving skills and preventing known problem behaviors.
Alaska Injury Prevention Center is the lead agency in the Alaska Strategic Traffic Safety Plan (STSP) partnering with state agencies to promote responsible behavior and driving among youth with comprehensive community-based programs. According to the STSP, the objective is to achieve a reduction in under-21 impaired drinking, binge drinking, and impaired driving-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities by combining education strategies with comprehensive approaches to prevention. Alaska Injury Prevention Center programs focused on young drivers have included Raise Your Voice, ThinkFast, and High School Buckle Up.
Alaska’s Teen Drivers
• According to results from the 2015 Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 9.4% of Alaskan students attending traditional high schools sampled reported rarely or never wearing a seatbelt in a car driven by someone else.
• 14.3% of Alaska traditional high school students sampled by the 2015 Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicated that they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol on at least one occasion.
• Results from the 2015 Alaska Youth Risk Behavior Survey show that 35.1% of high school students texted or emailed while driving during the past 30 days (among students who drove a car or other vehicle).
• Data from the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities indicates that between 1999 and 2008 an annual average of 145 young drivers suffered serious injuries in a crash on Alaska’s roadways.
• Teen drivers consistently comprise of just over 5% of Alaska’s Licensed Drivers. However, teen drivers typically make up over 20% of total fatalities, 30% of major motor vehicle injuries.
• Seventeen percent of fatal and major injury crashes involved an alcohol impaired teen driver.