Distractions a factor in nighttime teen driver crashes: report

May 13, 2010

Driver distractions, not alcohol, are contributing to a steady increase in nighttime fatal crashes for teen drivers, according to a new report (.pdf file) from the Texas Transportation Institute in College Station.

Researchers conducted a nationwide analysis of the effects of lighting conditions on crashes from 1999 to 2008, along with the presence of alcohol as a factor in those crashes. According to a press release, researchers concluded cell phones are the most likely factor contributing to the increase in nighttime fatal crashes. Additional findings posted on the TTI-sponsored Website, Teens in the Driver Seat, show:

  • The proportion of nighttime fatal crashes increases for all drivers, but went up slightly more for teen drivers compared with drivers 20 and older.
  • Alcohol use as a contributing factor increased for older drivers, but decreased slightly for teen drivers.
  • The increase in nighttime fatal crashes contrasts with a decrease in overall crash fatalities nationwide during that same period.