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October 16, 2015
Motor Vehicle Crashes Still the Leading Cause of Death for Teens in the United States
MADISON, WI, (October 16, 2015) – While crash numbers have dropped over the past 20 years, teens continue to have the highest crash rate of any age group in the country. A number of factors contribute to this, but distractions play a heavier role than anything else according to a comprehensive study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Using unprecedented video analysis, the study found that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes (58%), which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports (14%).
The most common forms of distraction leading up to a crash by a teen driver included:
  • Interacting with one or more passengers: 15 percent of crashes
  • Cell phone use: 12 percent of crashes
  • Looking at something in the vehicle: 10 percent of crashes
  • Looking at something outside the vehicle: 9 percent of crashes
  • Singing/moving to music: 8 percent of crashes
  • Grooming: 6 percent of crashes
  • Reaching for an object: 6 percent of crashes
“Teen Driver Safety Week is a great time to remind everyone about the risks teenagers face when they are learning to drive,” said Amy Stracke, Managing Director of Traffic Safety for AAA - The Auto Club Group and Executive Director of the ACG Traffic Safety Foundation. “These dangers can affect us all and we need to support teen driver safety whenever possible.”

Parents play a critical role in preventing distracted driving and helping their teens to be as safe as possible behind the wheel. AAA recommends that parents teach teens about the dangers of cell phone use and restrict passengers allowed to ride with them when they are learning to drive.  Before parents begin practice driving with teens, they should create a parent-teen driving agreement that includes strict ground rules related to distraction. This tool and many other resources are available for both parents and teens at

“It is no surprise that teen drivers have fewer crashes when their parents proactively participate in the learning-to-drive process,” said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA Wisconsin. “Parents need to remember that their level of involvement has a huge impact on how safe their teens are behind the wheel.”


Nick Jarmusz
phone: 608-828-2495
About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, travel, insurance and financial services offerings to approximately 9 million members across 11 states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with nearly 55 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety.

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