Moving beyond teen crash fatality statistics : the go-team study.
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Moving beyond teen crash fatality statistics : the go-team study.

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  • Abstract:
    Despite a trend of decreasing teen fatalities due to motor vehicle crashes over the past decade, they remain the leading cause

    of adolescent fatalities in Iowa. The purpose of this study was to create detailed case studies of each fatal motor vehicle crash

    involving a driver under the age of 20 that occurred in Iowa in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Data for each crash were gathered from

    media sources, law enforcement agencies, and the Iowa Department of Transportation. The driving records of the teens,

    which included their licensure history, prior traffic citations, and prior crashes, were also acquired. In addition, data about the

    charges filed against a teen as a result of being involved in a fatal crash were obtained.

    A total of 126 crashes involving 131 teen drivers that resulted in 143 fatalities were analyzed. Many findings for fatal

    crashes involving teen drivers in Iowa are consistent with national trends, including the overrepresentation of male drivers,

    crash involvement that increases with age, crash involvement per vehicle miles traveled that decreases with age, and

    prevalence of single-vehicle road departure crashes. Relative to national statistics, teen fatalities from crashes in Iowa are

    more likely to occur from midnight to 6am and from 9am to noon. Crash type varied by driver age and county population

    level. Teen drivers contributed to the fatal crashes at a rate of 74%; contribution of the teen driver was unknown for 11% of

    crashes. Speed was a factor for about 25% of the crashes for which a teen driver was at fault. The same was also true of

    alcohol/drug impairment. Only 20% of the rear-seat occupants of the teen drivers’ vehicles wore seat belts compared to 60%

    use for the front-seat occupants. Analysis of the teens’ driving records prior to the fatal crash suggests at-fault crashes and

    speeding violations are associated with contributing to the fatal crash.

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