BALTIMORE (WJZ) — AAA is targeting the leading cause of death among young drivers: fatal car wrecks. Many of those accidents can be prevented by dropping distractions.

As Gigi Barnett reports, the state is seeing a turnaround in the number of deadly crashes among teen drivers.

“You never really know what could happen, whether another car jumps out in front of you,” said teen driver Steven Truant.

Two eyes on the road; two hands on the wheel. It’s the way 17-year-old Steven Truant learned to drive—but he’s seen many teen drivers behind the wheel distracted.

“Anywhere ranging from being on the phone to texting to dancing in the car. They can be distracted pretty easily,” Truant said.

It’s the kind of distraction that could lead to death, especially among the state’s youngest drivers, according to a new study released by AAA recently.

That’s why the agency is marking “National Teen Driver Safety Week.” The top two dangers facing teens behind the wheel: cell phones and too many young passengers.

“If you have more than three teenagers in a car—people under 21 with a teen passenger—you actually quadruple your risk of being involved in a crash,” said Ragina Averella, AAA.

But the state is seeing a positive trend: teen-driver related crashes nationwide are down over the last five years. AAA says one major reason is tougher laws that require longer practice times on the road.

AAA recommends that parents talk with teens about safe driving, especially this week. But they say the best course of action is to model it.

Teen drivers make up about seven percent of drivers on the road but they’re involved in 20% of the fatalities on the road.


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