January 18, 2006
A new study raises fresh concerns about teenage drivers. The study, sponsored by the American Automobile Association says more restrictions should be placed on teens behind the wheel.
"I do not want to be in an accident," said one young passenger. He still has a while before he is of driving age, but already his mother, Albemarle County driver Maria Belcik says she may make him wait until he is at least 18 before he gets behind the wheel.
"I'd hate to have my child just goofing off for once second cause somebody else's death," said Belcik.
The new study today wants to raise awareness that teen crashes aren't just a problem for teens. It says all drivers are at risk.
“They definitely don't use a lot of caution or take into account other drivers around them,” said Shana Hunt a 19-year-old driver.
According to AAA, over 30,000 people were killed by drivers age 15 to 17 in the last ten years.
When teen drivers crash, someone else is usually the victim, either another driver or a pedestrian. Now AAA is calling for tougher laws.
"Not allowing teens to drive at night will help reduce the number of fatal crashes by at least 25 percent,” said Robert Darbelent of AAA.
They also want all states to mandate more hours behind the wheel before granting teenagers a driving license.
“More laws like that would be helpful, where kids have to practice more on the road with an adult before they are allowed to get a license. I think they probably get their license too early,” said Belcik.
AAA insists by limiting teen’s rights on the road, it will also limit the number of deaths they cause. Statistics show young people behind the wheel are easily distracted by others. That’s why AAA also wants to see laws limiting the number of passengers traveling with new drivers.