AAA Study Shows Fewer Teens Dying While Driving - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

AAA Study Shows Fewer Teens Dying While Driving

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - Fewer teens are dying while behind the wheel, thanks in part to graduated and intermediate drivers license programs.

A AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study shows 16 year old drivers are involved in 21% fewer fatal crashes and 38% fewer crashes resulting in injuries if their state has a graduated or intermediate driver licensing program.

Washington has laws that limit driving privileges and limits who can ride in the car with a young driver.

"Motor vehicle crashes remain the number one cause of death for teens in the United States and roughly 1,000 16-year old drivers are involved in fatal crashes each year," said J. Peter Kissinger, AAA Foundation President and CEO.

"We commissioned this study to better understand the ability of legislation to make a difference on teen driver safety.  Based on the research results, the impact of GDL (Graduated Driver License) programs is highly impressive," added Kissinger.

Parents play a big role in the success of these drivers licensing programs.

"We would like to believe and we hope the parents are helping to enforce that and instill good values and making their children abide by the law.  If they don't, then we will," said Officer Brian Banner from the Kennewick Police Department.

The program is designed among other things to help limit distractions for young drivers.      Washington's program also requires 50 hours of supervised practice and doesn't allow any passengers under 20 years old for the first six months of driving except family members.