*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on HealthDay.
Nearly half — 43% — of all fatal car crashes involving teens and their passengers are the result of speeding, a new automobile safety report reveals.
The finding stems from an in-depth analysis of all fatal motor vehicle accidents across the United States between 2015 and 2019. During this five-year period, 4,930 teen drivers and passengers died in crashes involving speeding.
And while the report acknowledges that deadly speeding is a problem at any age, it warns that the consequences of speeding pose a particularly grave danger to young drivers between the ages of 16 and 19.
Although the period studied did not include the pandemic, Governors Highway Safety Association executive director Jonathan Adkins said in a statement that the United States “has a speeding problem that has only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to Adkins, “Thousands of people die needlessly on our roads because some drivers mistakenly think less traffic means they can speed and nothing bad will happen. The data tell us that teen drivers are the most likely to be tempted to speed, so the need to address this issue is more critical than ever, given traffic death trends during the pandemic.”
The study found that teen drivers who died in a speeding accident were more likely to be male (37% versus 28%), and were more likely to not be wearing a seatbelt. Teen fatalities also tended to involve being run off the road and/or car rollovers.
Younger teens (16- to 17-year-olds) were found to be at the highest risk for a deadly speeding crash. But teens aged 18 and 19 were more likely to get into an accident between midnight and 5 a.m. Older teens were also more likely to have accidents while on a highway or freeway.
And when it comes to speeding fatalities when passengers were in the car, more was decidedly worse: The greater the number of teenagers in the car alongside a teen driver, the greater the risk for a deadly speeding accident.