MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The number of teenagers involved in deadly car crashes is rising for the first time in nearly a decade.
New data from federal regulators reveals a ten percent increase in teen driving deaths. As for the causes, results of a new survey show teenagers’ top driving mistakes.
Donovan Tessmer was about to start his senior year of high school. While out with friends, the teen’s girlfriend was speeding, lost control and hit a tree. Donovan wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and was ejected and killed instantly.
“I can’t even describe what it felt like in that moment to be standing on a crash site looking down at a yellow tarp knowing that my son was underneath it. But also knowing that the young driver would have never done anything to hurt us on purpose,” said Tessmer’s mother Martha.
Almost a decade later, speeding remains the top mistake teens make behind the wheel.
Of the nearly 14,000 fatal crashes involving teen drivers over the last five years, more than 4,200 involved speed.
“I think one of the kind of disturbing things is that it’s not getting any better,” said Tamara Johnson with AAA.
Johnson says AAA’s survey found parents were often more guilty of bad driving than their teens.
About 65% of driving instructors complained parents were worse at teaching their children to drive than a decade ago.
“When parents set stricter rules for their teens before they get behind the wheel, those teens typically have less crashes,” said Johnson.
After speed, the most common mistake teens make is distracted driving.
Christian Castellano got a ticket for texting.
When asked if he normally texts, Castellano said “normally no because my mom got onto me when I first started driving, and so after that I quit doing it, and then I was running late.”
The third big mistake is not properly scanning the road for hazards this teen fails to notice another car running the red light.
New research funded by Ford finds 1/3 of teens are waiting till their 18 to get their drivers licenses. Then they are not subject to graduated licensing laws and that may be resulting in more fatal crashes . Graduated licensing laws place limits on young drivers and have been credited with reduced teen crash risk by as much as 30 percent.