Crash avoidance features and teen-specific vehicle technologies have the potential to prevent or mitigate up to three-quarters of fatal crashes involving teen drivers, a new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety claims.
Per mile driven, teen drivers are said to be nearly four times as likely to crash as drivers 20 and older and more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than any age group – except those 80 and above – due to risk factors that include high rates of speeding, low seat belt use and inexperience.
To estimate the maximum potential benefits of vehicle safety technologies, researchers analyzed passenger-vehicle crashes involving teen drivers that occurred on U.S. roads during 2016-19. They looked for crash scenarios relevant to three crash avoidance features (front crash prevention, lane departure warning/prevention and blind spot monitoring) and three technologies designed for teen drivers (speeding prevention features, night-time curfew notifications and extended reminders or gearshift interlocks to encourage seat belt use).
Assuming those technologies were universally used and completely effective, the researchers concluded that together they could prevent or mitigate 41 percent of all crashes involving teen drivers, and as many as 47 percent of teen driver injuries and 78 percent of teen driver deaths.
“We know these technologies don’t stop 100 percent of the crashes they’re designed to address, but our analysis shows that the potential benefits for teen drivers could be pretty stunning if they were widely used,” says IIHS Research Scientist Alexandra Mueller, the lead author of the paper.