Need for Speed Leads to Trouble for Teens

Speed is a factor in about one-third of all young driver and passenger deaths.

Safety experts are cautioning teens to drive defensively, and have the sobering statistics to back up their warnings.

The amount of fatalities among teenage drivers jumped nearly 10 percent, according to traffic safety agencies.

"This drives home the message that there is still much to do to reduce teen driver fatal crashes and the resulting deaths," said Jonathan Adkins, executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The faster a vehicle is moving, the less time the driver has to detect and react to a threat. This also means it requires more distance to stop.

For example, a vehicle traveling 55 mph needs about six seconds to stop and will travel roughly 302 feet in that time, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The Center for Disease Control offers similarly grim statistics. The CDC reports 2,270 teens ages 16 to 19 were killed and more than 220,000 were treated in emergency rooms for crash-related injuries in 2014.

To put it another way, six teens ages 16 to 19 died on daily basis in 2014 day from motor vehicle injuries, according to the CDC.

The IIHS offers the following insights and suggestions for teens:

  • Speed limits are set with road safety in mind. Authorities plan for roadway design, pedestrians and the location itself when determining a speed limit.
  • Speeding up to catch up with the flow of traffic is illegal.
  • Speeding burns fuel, reducing your engine’s efficiency.
  • Stop within the distance you can see in front of you.
  • Slow down before curves. It’s easy to lose traction, while the vehicle’s high center of gravity can result in a rollover.
  • Keep two seconds of distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.