Phoenix, Oct. 15, 2015. Teens often think of themselves as invincible. Yet in Arizona, young drivers are involved in more than a third of all fatality or severe-injury crashes.
Earlier this year, AAA Arizona and Phoenix Children’s Hospital conducted focus groups consisting of nearly 60 students at Basha, Dobson and Mountain View high schools. In honor of Teen Driver Safety Week (Oct. 18-24), the safety advocates are revealing four key findings from the focus groups:
- 19 percent of teens reported driving at least once a week without a permit or license.
- 22 percent of teen drivers between ages 14-16 reported using a cell phone or texting while driving. That number nearly tripled to 64 percent for drivers age 17 and older.
- 69 percent of teen drivers reported driving with more than one passenger.
- 25 percent of teens reported that they or their passengers do not always buckle up when riding in a car.
“Teens view taking risks as part of growing up, but taking risks while driving can have deadly consequences,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “Young driver safety remains one of the most important areas where safety can be improved statewide.”
“For drivers under the age of 18, carrying a non-adult passenger increases the risk of being killed in a crash by 44 percent,” said Phoenix Children’s Hospital Trauma Medical Director David Notrica, MD FACS FAAP. “When the number of non-adult passengers exceeds three or more, the risk of being killed in a crash goes up more than 400 percent.”
AAA Arizona and Phoenix Children’s Hospital are encouraging families to take action to reduce preventable deaths and injuries on Arizona roads. The safety advocates recently launched a community-based intervention to reduce the incidence of teen driver and passenger crashes. Steer Factor is an after school, semester-long pilot program that instills safe driving practices, explores risks, peer pressure and consequences and prepares teens to take the learner’s permit test. It also provides parents with access to an online curriculum so that they can continue the dialogue at home. The program is delivered at Valley high schools where the focus groups took place earlier this year.
About Phoenix Children’s
Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Arizona’s only hospital honored by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospitals, provides world-class inpatient, outpatient, trauma, emergency and urgent care to children and families in Arizona and throughout the Southwest. As one of the largest children’s hospitals in the country, Phoenix Children’s provides care across more than 75 pediatric specialties. The Hospital is poised for continued growth in quality patient care, research and medical education. For more information about the hospital, visit www.phoenixchildrens.org
About AAA Arizona
AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 880,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.
Stay connected with AAA Arizona on the web at AAA.com.