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AAA study cites speeding, distractions in rising rate of teen driving deaths

The number of teen drivers in fatal car crashes is rising for the first time in a decade.

By
Ed Adamczyk
The number of teenagers involved in fatal car crashes in the United States is climbing, for the first time in a decade, the American Automobile Association reports. Photo by Steve Fecht/General Motors
The number of teenagers involved in fatal car crashes in the United States is climbing, for the first time in a decade, the American Automobile Association reports. Photo by Steve Fecht/General Motors | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Teen drivers in the United States were involved in nearly 14,000 fatal car crashes in the past five years, a number rising for the first time in a decade.

New federal data indicate a 10 percent increase in 2015 in teen driving deaths, CBS News reported Wednesday.

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The American Automobile Association's Tamra Johnson noted that, of the 14,000 fatal accidents, over 4,200 involved excessive speeding, adding, "I think one of the kind of disturbing things is that it's not getting any better."

An AAA survey of 142 driving instructors referred to speeding, distractions including use of cellphones or interacting with other passengers and poor visual scanning, or not properly analyzing situations and conditions, as the top three mistakes made by teenage drivers. Johnson added that 65 percent of instructors believe parents are worse at teaching driving skills to their teenage children than those of a decade earlier.

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"When parents set stricter rules for their teens before they get behind the wheel, those teens typically have less crashes," she said. An AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report indicated more people age 35-55 report talking on a cellphone while driving, 77 percent, compared to 68 percent of teens.

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Additional research, funded by the Ford Motor Co. and released Wednesday, said one-third of teens get a driver's license, with full driving privileges, at age 18, and do not start driving earlier with graduated privileges, including driving at night and driving alone; graduated privileges are believed to reduce the risk of teen car crashes by up to 30 percent, CBS News said.

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