Crash statistics indicate data for teens

by | October 30, 2008 12:00 am

Recent crashes in White and surrounding counties involving teenagers has raised the question among many parents about the safety of younger drivers on the highways and the laws that govern the license issued to these novices on the roadways.
According to National Safety Council, young drivers are involved in fatal traffic crashes at more than twice the rate as the rest of the population. On the basis of current population trends, there will be 23 percent more 16-to-20-year-old drivers on the road in 2010 (26.1 million) than there are today.
This age group makes up 7 percent of licensed drivers, but suffers 14 percent of fatalities and 20 percent of all reported accidents, according to,
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states the estimated economic cost of police-reported crashes, in 2000, involving drivers between 15 and 20 years old totaled $32.8 billion. NHTSA also reports 16-year-old drivers have a crash rate three times higher than 17-year-olds, five times greater than 18-year-olds and two times greater than 85-year-olds.
Crash data from Tennessee Department of Safety provides the following information.
In White County:
•2004, total of 536 crashes, 83 drivers were ages 16-17, with the most occurring in August for all ages
•2005, total of 421 crashes, 77 drivers were ages 16-17, with the most occurring in April for all ages
•2006, total of 492 crashes, 70 drivers were ages 16-17, with the most occurring in November for all ages
•2007, total of 394 crashes, 61 drivers were ages 16-17, with March and April tying for the most occurrences of crashes of all ages
Tennessee teenagers are also under specific rules and regulations with the Graduated Driver License, which has been state law since July 1, 2001.
Under the GDL law, anyone under the age of 18 must have his/her Tennessee learner permit for a minimum of 180 days before he/she can apply for an intermediate restricted license. The minimum age for applying for an intermediate license is 16.
If someone with a Tennessee learner permit gets six or more points (equivalent to two citations) on his/her driving record during the 180 days before applying for the intermediate restricted license, he/she will have to continue to hold the Tennessee learner permit until the record has been clear 180 days.
Those with an intermediate restricted license can only have one other passenger in the vehicle, unless:
•One or more of the passengers is age 21 or older and has a valid, unrestricted license
•Passengers are brothers and sisters, stepbrothers, stepsisters, adopted or fostered children residing in the same house as the driver and going to and from school and the intermediate license holder has in his/her possession written permission from a parent or guardian to transport the siblings
Those with an intermediate restricted license are prohibited from driving between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 a.m., unless:
•They are accompanied by a parent or guardian
•They are accompanied by a licensed driver 21 or older who has been designated by the parent or guardian. This designation must be in writing and in the possession of the teen driver
•They are driving to or from a specifically identified school sponsored activity or event and have in their possession written permission from a parent or guardian to do this
•They are driving to or from work and have in their possession written permission from a parent or guardian identifying the place of employment and authorizing the driver to go to and from work
•They are driving to or from hunting or fishing between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. and have in their possession a valid hunting or fishing license
For more information about driver statistics log onto
White County
Crash Fatality
(Ages 16-20)
1994    2
1995    0
1996    0
1997    1
1998    1
1999    0
2000    1
2001    0
2002    3
2003    1
2004    1
2005    2
2006    0
White County
(time of day most crashes occurred)
2003    3:00-5:59 p.m.
2004    3:00-5:59 p.m.
2005    3:00-5:59 p.m.
2006    3:00-5:59 p.m.
2007    3:00-5:59 p.m.
TN Traffic Fatalities
Year    Fatalities
1990    1,177
1991    1,113
1992    1,153
1993     1,170
1994     1,214
1995     1,259
1996     1,239
1997     1,225
1998     1,216
1999     1,302
2000     1,307
2001     1,251
2002     1,177
2003     1,193
2004     1,339
2005     1,270
2006    1,284
2007    1,210

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