According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), nearly 18,000 teens in the U.S. ages 16 to 19 died in car accidents from 2006 to 2010. In fact, the fatal crash rate for 16 to 19 year olds in the U.S. is nearly three times the rate for drivers ages 20 and older.
Erie Insurance worked with IIHS to conduct an exclusive analysis of crash data from the U.S. Department of Transportation to show how states compare in terms of the relative danger of car accident deaths when teens are behind the wheel. The analysis found that Wyoming, Montana, Mississippi, West Virginia, Arkansas and Alabama had the highest death rates when teens were driving, while the District of Columbia, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Jersey had the lowest rate of deaths involving teen drivers. To see a complete ranking of all states, go to www.erieinsurance.com/jointheshift.
Erie Insurance is taking steps to reduce the teen death rate with Shift, a driver safety program designed for teens to share good driving tips and experiences and warn their peers of bad driving behavior. The program includes a contest to award $20,000 in cash prizes to teens and their schools for sharing the safe -driving message. The contest is open to teens in the District of Columbia and the 11 states where Erie Insurance operates.
The contest works like this:
•Teens can logon to www.jointheshift.org to learn about safe driving.
•Teens earn points by doing things like signing a safe-driver pledge, creating and voting on safe-driver videos, and sharing safe-driving messages with their peers.
•The teens with the most points are awarded cash prizes for themselves and their schools. Schools with the highest points average at the end of the contest will also earn cash prizes.
•The contest ends Friday, Dec. 7.
For complete contest rules including how points are awarded and how school scores are determined, please see the FAQ section of www.jointheshift.org. IIHS notes that state graduated driver licensing laws (GDL) have helped reduce teen crash rates significantly in recent years, but these laws vary in strength. Research shows that every state could reduce its teen crash rate by adopting stronger GDL laws.