Our NBC 10’s CJ Maclin sat down with Skeeter Boyd, Director of Transportation at Ouachita Parish School Board, who has been teaching drivers education courses for almost 50 years. He gave us his thoughts on teenagers texting and driving and how important it is to wear their seatbelts.
(PRESS RELEASE) – (11/13/19) Driving a car means freedom, but it also comes with a great deal of responsibility and risk. For some teenagers, it can be difficult to fully appreciate that risk. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teenage drivers are more likely than older drivers to make critical errors that result in serious crashes. For example, they are more likely to speed and less likely to keep a safe distance between vehicles. Young people ages 15 to 19 make up slightly more than 6 percent of the population. Yet, the CDC reports that in 2016, they were responsible for 8.4 percent ($13.6 billion) of total motor vehicle injury costs.
While teens present a greater danger behind the wheel than adults, more teens are taking preventive safety measures when they drive than ever before. In 1991, 25.9 percent of teens said they rarely wore their seat belt; today, that number is down to 5.9 percent. Similarly, drinking and driving among teens has improved over the years. From 2013 to 2017, the percentage of teens who said they drink and drive fell from 10 percent to 5.5 percent. Yet, it is important to note that teen drivers are more likely than older drivers to be involved in motor vehicle crashes when they do drink and drive.
Despite improvements in seat belt use and impaired driving, national data shows no significant change in the number of teens who said they text and drive. From 2013 to 2017, the percentage of teens who engaged in this behavior remained flat at approximately 40 percent.
At the state level, teen texting and driving shows a statistically significant positive correlation with teen motor vehicle fatalities by population. In general, states with more teens who text and drive also have more teens who die in motor vehicle accidents.
With these trends in mind, researchers at 360 Quote wanted to use these statistics to identify the states with the most dangerous teenage drivers. To do this, their researchers created a composite score for each state based on several metrics, including the percentage of teens who text and drive, the percentage of teens who drink and drive, the percentage of teens who rarely wear a seat belt, and the teen traffic fatality rate per 100k teens.
The study found that Louisiana teens are some of the most dangerous drivers in the U.S. In Louisiana, 43.0% of teens reported texting and driving, 10.0% of teens reported drinking and driving, and 12.5% reported rarely wearing a seatbelt. Considering these factors, the analysis ranked Louisiana teens the 3rd most dangerous in the U.S. Here is a summary of the data for Louisiana:
- Teens who text & drive: 43.0% (9.7% worse than average)
- Teens who drink & drive: 10.0% (81.8% worse than average)
- Teens who rarely wear a seat belt: 12.5% (111.9% worse than average)
- Teen traffic fatality rate: 17.7 per 100k (48.0% worse than average)
- Teen traffic fatalities: 53
For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States:
- Teens who text & drive: 39.2%
- Teens who drink & drive: 5.5%
- Teens who rarely wear a seat belt: 5.9%
- Teen traffic fatality rate: 12.0 per 100k
- Teen traffic fatalities: 2,526 per year
For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results for the United States, you can see the original report here.