Tuesday, March 3, 2009 | 6:13 p.m.
A new study by AAA shows that proper driver training for teenagers could not only save their lives but the lives of thousands of others on the road.
The analysis by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety examined nationwide crash data over the past 10 years and showed that 28,138 people were killed in crashes involving drivers aged 15 to 17.
Of those killed, 10,388 were teen drivers and 17,750 were passengers, people in other cars, pedestrians, cyclists and others, according to the study, which was released March 2.
In Nevada, 216 people were killed in crashes involving 15 to 17-year-old drivers from 1998 to 2008, according to the study. Of those fatalities, only 59 were teenage drivers.
The rest of the fatalities included 85 passengers of the teen drivers, 50 occupants of other vehicles driven by adults and 22 non-motorists.
Just the same, AAA still reported a nationwide decrease in the number of fatalities in crashes involving teen drivers. A previous AAA study that examined data from 1995 to 2005 showed that crashes involving 15 to 17-year-old drivers killed 30,917 people, compared to the 28,138 from 1998 to 2008, a decrease of about 9 percent.
Trooper Kevin Honea of Nevada Highway Patrol said that in 2007, a total of 21 drivers aged 16 and 17 were killed in Nevada. In 2008, that number decreased to five. None of those five killed last year were wearing seat belts, Honea said.
"I think there has been more focus and involvement among the public on promoting safety with teenage drivers," Honea said.
The AAA study also reminded parents to take the lead in teaching their children how to drive, whether it's selecting a quality driving school, creating parent-teen driving agreements or choosing a safe vehicle.
"Parent involvement is the key," Honea said. "The more parents are involved in teaching their kids how to drive, the better off everyone will be."
For more information about teenage driver safety, go online to www.aaa.com/traffic.
Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or [email protected].