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Temporal patterns of crashes of 16-17-year-old drivers in Fairfax County, Virginia

Hellinga, Laurie A.; McCartt, Anne T.; Mandavilli, Srinivas
Traffic Injury Prevention (TIP)
October 2007

Objective: To develop a better understanding of the frequency and characteristics of teenage driver crashes occurring during school commute times.
Method: Data were obtained from police reports of crashes involving drivers ages 16-17 that occurred between September 2001 and August 2004 in Fairfax County, Virginia. Temporal patterns and other characteristics of crash involvement during the school year were examined, and crashes during school commute times were compared with those at other times.
Results: Teenage driver crash involvement spiked during weekday school commute times. Compared with other times, crashes during school commute times were significantly more likely to involve multiple vehicles but less likely to result in injuries or involve drivers who were male, made driving errors, or had been drinking alcohol. Crashes during school commute times were more likely to involve more than one teenage driver and occur close to schools.
Conclusions: Crashes involving teenage drivers are prevalent during school commute times. Many of these crashes involve multiple teenage drivers and occur near schools. Schools and communities should consider programs and policies that reduce teenage driving to school and enhance the safety of teenagers that do drive.