National initiative puts spotlight on teenage driver safety
SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - There’s a spotlight on teen driver safety this week across the country.
“Right now, it is a bigger issue than it ever has been because the rate of fatalities and crashes have been increasing in the past couple of years,” said AAA Northeast spokesperson Mark Shieldrop.
Making sure teenagers are safe when they get behind the wheel is why this week marks National Teen Driver Safety Week. Western Mass News is getting answers from AAA Northeast on the number of accidents tied to young drivers. Shieldrop told us the statistics are startling. He said in Massachusetts, in 2021, an estimated 16,000 drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 were involved in a crash. That is one teen crash every 32 minutes.
“Not every crash is going to be a fatal crash, of course. Some are small fender benders, but the cost and impact is still great,” Shieldrop added.
In 2021, 144 teens were either killed or seriously injured in crashes in the Bay State and more than 2,100 teens in crashes experienced less severe injuries. Shieldrop told us who is most likely behind the wheel in these crashes.
“Young males are especially most vulnerable group on the roadways and they are the ones responsible for a lot of the crashes and a good number of fatalities,” Shieldrop noted.
As for moving forward, he said parents need to play a big role with keeping young drivers safe.
“We are not just trying to call out young people for bad driving habits, which is a main issue, but at the same time, we are asking parents are you leading by example? Are you driving safely and are you doing those things to model the behavior that you expect from your teens?” Shieldrop asked.
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