Recent data and survey suggests teens heeding the dangers of distracted driving
Denver, Colo., October 12, 2012 - The teen motor vehicle fatality rate has decreased by 68% since 2004, according to data released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment-Office of Vital Statistics. The numbers suggest a correlation between the dramatic drop in teen fatalities in relation to the strengthening of state Graduated Driver's Licensing Laws in 2005. Furthermore, the numbers reflect a continued decline following the statewide ban on cellphone use by those under the age of eighteen.
After Colorado's Graduated Drivers Licensing Law was strengthened, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment convened the Colorado Teen Driving Alliance (CTDA) to align implementation efforts by state and local partners for teen driving safety. "By introducing passenger restrictions that prohibit teen drivers from having passengers under age 21 for the first 6 months of licensure and limiting passengers to one person under age 21 during the second 6 months, Colorado was able to reduce one of the major causes of distracted driving–teen passengers," said Lindsey Myers, Injury Prevention Unit Manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health. "In order to continue to see declines in teen motor vehicle fatalities, Colorado now needs to work on reducing other causes of distracted driving, such as cell phone use."
In a recent Harris survey conducted by State Farm, teen drivers were asked what they believe reduces texting while driving. Unfortunately, the most common answer was either being involved in an accident or having a near-miss while texting. However, teen responses took a positive turn when it came to texting and driving enforcement; 84 percent felt there should be stronger enforcement of anti-texting laws, 83 percent felt higher penalties for texting while driving would reduce the behavior, and 75 percent felt rewards for those who do not text was the best approach.
"The sharp decrease in Colorado teen motor vehicle fatalities is incredibly positive news," said Chris Mullen, Director of Technology Research at State Farm. "The data suggests Colorado teens are responding to many contributing factors such as stronger GDL laws, which are a critical part of a multipronged approach to addressing this serious public policy issue." Leading the way through research, education and legislative advocacy, State Farm supports all bans on texting while driving and collaborates locally with organizations like the CTDA to curb dangerous driving behavior.
"Colorado has made incredible advances in teen motor vehicle safety, but motor vehicle crashes remain one of the leading causes of death for Colorado teens. The CTDA is dedicated to partnering with teens to continue to promote teen driving safety," added Myers. "Motor vehicle safety is a winnable battle."
Angela Thorpe: Public Affairs, (303) 264-1560
Death data are compiled from information reported on the Certificate of Death. Data items are presented as reported. Information on the certificate concerning time, place, and cause of death is typically supplied by medical personnel or coroners. Demographic information, such as age, race/ethnicity, or occupation, is generally reported on the certificate by funeral directors from information supplied by the available next of kin. Training of physicians, coroners, other medical personnel, and funeral directors is conducted on an ongoing basis to maintain and improve the quality of data supplied on death certificates. More at: CO Winnable Battles Data
The survey was conducted by telephone within the United States between July 24 through July 30 2012 by Harris Interactive on behalf of State Farm among 650 U.S. 14-18 year olds. Figures for age, sex, geographic region, and race/ethnicity were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. For more information please contact Angela Thorpe, 303-264-1560.
The Colorado Teen Driving Alliance (CTDA) is a public-private partnership of state and local agencies dedicated to keeping teens safe and reducing teen motor vehicle crashes and fatalities. The CTDA meets monthly to coordinate state-level efforts to implement evidence-based strategies to improve teen driving safety. Members include the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles, the Colorado State Patrol, AAA Colorado, the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, Children's Hospital Colorado, Safe Kids Colorado, Drive Smart Colorado, State Farm, the Colorado Donor Alliance, as well as several local health departments, hospitals, and driving schools. For more information about Colorado's teen driving initiatives, visit www.coteendriver.com.
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. and is a leading insurer in Canada. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 17,800 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts - more than 79 million auto, home, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is also available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 43 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit http://www.statefarm.com or in Canada http://www.statefarm.ca.