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Teenage Driving in Arizona

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A recent press release from the Arizona Automobile Association suggests,

Arizona is far behind in being a safe state for the riskiest group of all teens. The state could do more to make it a safer state for ALL drivers by putting stricter limits on teenagers, the state’s most dangerous drivers.

Statistics supplied by AAA Arizona back up its conclusion that too many teenagers drive with reckless abandon:

Car crashes are the number one killer of teenagers. A first-of-its kind study released by AAA earlier this year revealed Arizona crashes involving teen drivers kill other people more often than the teen drivers themselves. Other findings included:

-3 out of 4 fatalities involving Arizona teen drivers were other drivers and passengers.
-During 1995- 2004, Arizona teen driver crashes killed 151 teen drivers and 442 other people.

Based upon the car crash statistics AAA cites, I agree that teenagers should have limits placed on their ability to drive. In fact, a national AAA crash study released in January, 2006 paints a sobering picture about the risks of teenage driving to the driving public in general:

This analysis shows that between 1995 and 2004 crashes involving 15- to 17- year-old drivers claimed the lives of 30,917 people, of which 11,177 (36.2%) were those drivers themselves. However, the majority of fatalities in these crashes were people other than those drivers, and included 9,847 of their passengers, 7,477 occupants of vehicles operated by drivers 18 years of age or older, and 2,323 nonmotorists.

In my opinion, government intervention and restriction does not always provide an effective solution. I am still not sure whether limits should be set in place by our government or by parents. Parents and young people alike play a role in minimizing the risks of teenage automobile accidents. Although difficult, parents should play an important role by limiting or even eliminating driving privileges of teenagers aged between 16 and 18.

AAA Arizona conducted a survey on public perceptions about problems associated with teenage driving. Based on the results, it appears that the public now supports placing government restrictions on teenage driving. Based on these survey results, a proposed “Teenage Driver Safety Act” may pass the legislature this year. I can only hope that a “Teenage Driver Safety Act” does not act as a subsitute for parental involvement in training our teenage sons and daughters how to drive safely and defensively. What do you think? Should government, parents or both place limits on teenage driving? Do you think teenage driving presents any problems at all or is this an issue blown out of proportion?