Deadly Car Crashes Involving Teen Drivers On Rise

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The number of deadly car crashes involving teen drivers is on the rise for the first time in nearly a decade.

New federal data reveals a 10 percent increase last year.

Experts blame the spike on factors like speeding, distracted driving, lack of attention and lack of experience, CBS2’s Kris Van Cleave reports.

Donovan Tesser was poised to start his senior year of high school, but while out with friends, his girlfriend was speeding, lost control and hit a tree. Tesser wasn’t wearing a seat-belt, and he was ejected and killed instantly.

“I can’t even describe what it felt like in that moment to be standing on a crash site looking down at a yellow tarp knowing that my son was underneath it. But also knowing that the young driver would have never done anything to hurt us on purpose,” Tesser’s mother, Martha, told Cleave.

Almost a decade later, speeding remains the top mistake teens make behind the wheel.

Of the nearly 14,000 fatal crashes involving teen drivers over the last five years, more than 4,200 involved speed.

“I think one of the kind of disturbing things is that it’s not getting any better,” Tamra Johnson with AAA said.

Johnson said a AAA survey found that parents were often more guilty of bad driving than their teens. Sixty-five percent of driving instructors complained parents were worse at teaching their children to drive than a decade ago. 

“When parents set stricter rules for their teens before they get behind the wheel, those teens typically have less crashes,” Johnson said.

After speed, the most common mistake teens make is distracted driving.

Christian Castellano was ticketed for texting while driving. When asked whether he does it often, Castellano replied, “normally, no because my mom got onto me when I first started driving, and so after that I quit doing it.”

The third biggest mistake is not properly scanning the road for hazards.

New researched funded by Ford found that one third of teens are now waiting until they are 18 to get their drivers licenses, which means they are not required to take a drivers education course or subject to certain license restrictions, WCBS 880’s Stephanie Colombini reported.


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