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

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