Reader’s Digest Reports on the Best and Worst States for Teen Drivers in First-Ever Analysis

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y., July 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — car crashes are the number one killer of teens in the United States with July being the deadliest month. Each year, more than 5,000 teenagers die on America’s roadways, but these deaths do not need to happen. Shocking statistics, revealed in a new report in the August issue of Reader’s Digest, on sale July 22, highlight the risks teen drivers pose to themselves and others and the desperate need for states to pass stricter laws regulating teen drivers. As the report shows, more stringent laws usually result in fewer fatalities.
Reader’s Digest ranked all 50 states based on their laws in three areas: graduated driver licensing, which imposes certain restrictions on teens before they are fully licensed; seat belt use; and DUI (driving under the influence). Complete rankings, as well as the methodology used in the report and other information, are available at . The report also includes a ranking of states based on teen driving fatalities.

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States were categorized as Best, Good, Fair or Worst. According to the report, the three states considered best for teen driving safety are: Alaska, California and Delaware. Among the worst are Montana, Mississippi and Arkansas, which also rank among the top ten states for the highest number of teen-driving fatalities per 100,000 teens. Reader’s Digest gathered data for this report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
As the report shows, a number of factors contribute to teen accidents, including:
— Speeding is a factor in 35% of crashes involving young drivers
— Cell phone use increases the crash risk by 300%

– Adding one passenger to a teen-driven car increases the fatal crash risk by 48%; adding a second increases it by 158%
– 87% of teen deaths involve distracted drivers; radios rank as a top distraction
– During nighttime, teens drivers are three times more likely to die in a crash than during the day
The younger the teen, the greater the risk. The crash rate for 16-year-olds is nearly double the rate for 19-year-olds. Yet, a recent study by Johns Hopkins University for the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that comprehensive driver licensing laws decrease deaths among 16-year-old drivers by 38 percent.
“Car crashes kill far too many teenagers each year,” said Andrea Barbalich, Reader’s Digest Deputy Editor. “If we can save lives by passing laws that limit teen driving at night or require more driving time before teens can be fully licensed, then we should all mobilize to make that happen.”
Only 20 percent of high schools offer driver’s education today as opposed to 90 percent in the 1980s, putting the onus for keeping teens safe squarely on parents and state governments. Accompanying the report’s data are tips for teaching a teen to drive and a graphic illustrating the anatomy of a teen car accident, which highlights the factors that dramatically increase a teen’s risk of an accident.
“For decades, Reader’s Digest has been a vocal proponent of safer roads,” said Peggy Northrop, Reader’s Digest Editor-in-Chief. “This report is further evidence of our commitment to this issue and our hope that readers will respond vigorously to our appeal to lobby their state governments to pass tougher teen driving laws.” A sample letter for readers to send to elected officials is available at , along with links to additional resources on teen driving and lobbying state representatives.
Reader’s Digest reaches nearly 40 million readers each month in the United States and twice as many worldwide. Its U.S. website is . The magazine is published in 51 editions and 22 languages, and reaches readers in more than 60 countries. It is the flagship of The Reader’s Digest Association, Inc., a global publisher and direct marketer of products that inform, entertain and inspire people of all ages and cultures around the world. Global headquarters are in Pleasantville, N.Y.
Source: Reader’s Digest

Teen Driver Safety Products Popularity Growing Rapidly

For Immediate Release

SPRING LAKE, Michigan, July 16, 2008 – A good driver’s education program is just the beginning of the process parents face while teaching their teens to become safe drivers. In most states, teens are only required to spend between 2-6 hours of actual behind-the-wheel driving time with an instructor prior to receiving their driving permit. According to Corinne Fortenbacher, a leading teen driving safety advocate, “Then parents are responsible for their teen’s real-life drivers training.”

Fortenbacher is the president of Rookie Driver.Net, an online provider of products which cater to improving the safety of new drivers. “Our company has grown from a single product in 2007 to multiple product lines. Teen driving accidents are the leading cause of death and injury to teens and parents have become much more aware of their responsibility in trying to reduce the number of teen driving accidents.”

Fortenbacher, along with her 15-year-old son Austin, created a magnetic symbol in 2006 which is placed on the parent’s car to alert other drivers that a new driver is behind the wheel. “From there, the trademarked design has grown into a nationally recognized symbol which is now distributed throughout the United States and Canada,” Fortenbacher says.

As Rookie Driver.Net grew and became more well known, other companies began contacting Fortenbacher asking to team up with their company to distribute additional products which can improve teen driver safety. The company has added GPS tracking devices and a book written by a teen driver to help other teenagers learn how to avoid the common mistakes that new drivers make.

They also recently joined forces with a hands-free Bluetooth device company. “It may seem strange to partner with a hands-free cell phone company with all of the stories surrounding the perils of teens on cell phones and texting while driving,” Fortenbacher states. “We do not promote teens using cell phones. In fact many states do not allow teens to use any type of cellular device during their learners permit period. But parents do use cell phones, and using a hands-free device sets a good example for down the line when their teen is allowed to use them.”

“Much more needs to be done to prevent teen crashes, the leading cause of death for young people in the U.S.,” Fortenbacher concludes. “No one can eliminate accidents, but parents can take every safety measurement possible.” The Rookie Driver website provides many teen driving safety links and a blog for parents and teens to share safety tips. They can be found at http://www.RookieDriver.Net

About Corinne and Austin Fortenbacher

Corinne and her 17 year-old son Austin have given dozens of media interviews, always bringing an interesting newsworthy angle to their story on how they went from the everyday common occurrence of a teen getting his learners permit and the stress this puts on both the parent and the teen. . . and how they created a solution to improve teen driving safety, together, developing a blog and building a successful e-commerce business and nationally distributed line of products — they welcome media interviews.

Corinne Fortenbacher, Co-Founder
Email: Corinne@RookieDriver.Net
Web: www.RookieDriver.Net Or, visit RookieDriver.Net’s Media Room at:

Visit their teen driving safety blog at:

About Rookie Driver.Net
RookieDriver.Net develops and markets a line of car magnets to alert experienced drivers that there is a novice driver behind the wheel. Rookie Driver® is the only symbol awarded a registered trademark by the US Patent and Trademark Office to nationally recognize new teen drivers. The firm has grown from a single product, launched in 2006, to a leading online provider of new driver safety aids. RookieDriver.Net’s products are designed by teens and can be found at http://www.RookieDriver.Net.

New, Stricter Connecticut State Driving Laws for Teens go into effect August 1

Come Aug. 1, Connecticut’s Department of Motor Vehicles will have stricter guidelines for 16- and 17-year-olds seeking learner’s permits and driver’s licenses.

They will face curfews between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. They will have to wait six months, instead of three, to drive with anyone other than an instructor or parent; and one year instead of six months to drive passengers other than family.

“We have evidence that (new drivers) are more likely to crash with passengers,” said Robert Ward, commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles. “We want them to know the rules of the road. And they need time to gain experience with the least number of distractions possible.”

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Ward spoke Wednesday morning after a press conference at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford aimed at publicizing the changes in the law.

Local parents and teenagers have decidedly different views on the new rules. Parents interviewed supported Ward. Teenagers didn’t.

“I think it should depend on the individual,” said Lily Grant, 19, of New London. “Leave it up to parents. Why should a good kid be punished?”

Her sister, Summer, 16, got her learner’s permit Wednesday, and is grandfathered in under existing regulations. But she also has a situation the legislature may not have considered.

“I have a twin sister, and we go everywhere together,” she said. “Does that mean we couldn’t drive each other?”

Sherry Filiatreault of Sprague was less sympathetic.

“I have an 18-year-old who took driver’s ed but decided not to get her license,” she said. “I would worry about her friends driving her. I think this gives you more experience before you get behind the wheel with friends in the car. I remember when I got my license, there was not as much traffic as there is now.”

New rules of the road for 16- and 17-year-olds who get their learner’s permits on or after Aug. 1:
— Applicants must pass a 25-question written test.
— New permit holders must have at least 40 hours of behind-the-wheel training before applying for a license and must complete an eight-hour driver safety course.
— Permit holders may not have passengers except for a licensed instructor or parent/guardian with a license.
— Curfew is in effect from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
— During the first six months with a license, the driver may not drive passengers other than a licensed instructor or parent/guardian with a license.
— During the second six months, the only additional passengers allowed are family members.
— Use of a cell phone, even with a hands-free device, is prohibited.
— More information is available at

Norwich Bulletin

July Is Deadliest Month For Florida Teen Drivers

Tampa Ranked #1 In Nation For Deadly Teen Crashes
NORTHBROOK, IL (CBS4) ― When it comes to teens behind the wheel in South Florida – July is the deadliest month.

In a study of federal crash statistics, insurance claims data and U.S. Census bureau statistics on the rate of fatal crashes involving teens, Allstate Insurance found the deadliest driving days for Miami – Ft Lauderdale teens occur in the month of July.

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The “Allstate America’s Teen Driving Hotspots” identified the top 50 U.S cities for deadly accidents involving teens compared to the size of their ten populations; three Florida cities topped the list.

1. Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater
2. Orlando/Kissimmee
3. Jacksonville

4. Nashville, Tennessee
5. Birmingham, Alabama
6. Phoenix, Arizona
7. Kansas City, Missouri & Kansas
8. Atlanta, Georgia
9. Charlotte, N. Carolina
10. Louisville, Kentucky

The Miami/Ft. Lauderdale region was ranked at 18th on the list.

“Every day can be a dangerous driving day if teen drivers let distractions affect their ability to be safe,” said Phil Lawson, Field Vice President – Florida Region. “The best thing parents and teens can do to avoid accidents is to have ongoing conversations on smart driving techniques.”

The metro areas with the fewest deadly teen accidents considering teen overall teen populations were:

1. San Francisco/Oakland, California
2. San Jose, California
3. New York City
4. Los Angeles, California
5. Cleveland, Ohio
6. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
7. Boston, Massachusetts
8. Portland, Oregon
9. Salt Lake City, Utah
10. Chicago, Illinois

During the summer months of June, July and August, the three months with the highest teen crash rates nationally, an average of more than 17 teens a day die on American roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Police reports of deadly accidents involving teens from 2003 to 2005 indicate ‘driver error’ was the primary cause of the accident nearly 90-percent of the time.

Source: MMVIII, CBS Broadcasting Inc.