The number of traffic fatalities involving teenagers has risen steeply so far in 2015, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. In the year to date, 25 teenage drivers have lost their lives in collisions, a climb of nearly 20% over the year-ago period.
Despite a frequent emphasis on drinking and driving, the leading causes of traffic collisions that result in teenage driver fatalities are speeding and running off the road. The Virginia DMV estimates that 80% of these deaths were related to the speed of the vehicles. Leaving the road occurred in 60% of accidents fatal to teen drivers. In addition, more than 50% of these crashes involved both speed and running off the road.
Ignoring basic vehicle safety measures was also a factor. Almost two-thirds of drivers under the age of 20 were not wearing seat belts when their car crashed.
DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative, reiterated the DMV’s findings. “Our statistics show that teen drivers are crashing – and sometimes losing their lives,” he said, “because many are driving too fast and losing control of their vehicles. Frequently, distraction causes a driver to run off the road. Multi-tasking while driving is a dangerous practice for teens and adults alike.”
Holcomb urged both teenagers and their parents to avoid cellphones while driving and to use seat belts. “Teenagers have their whole lives in front of them and we want to make sure they can enjoy every moment,” he concluded.
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