Teen Driver Deaths on a Sad Increase - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Teen Driver Deaths on a Sad Increase

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Deaths among teenage drivers are increasing, by close to 20% last year according to the Governor's Highway Safety Association. It's an alarming statistic…even though cars are built safer, seat belts are mandatory now, and medical advancements are saving lives. How could this be? Ask any insurance agent, and they'll point to the cell phone.

Younger drivers, especially young women drivers "always have the phone stuck to their head. And I don't care how good you are, you can't split your mind that way," according to Reno insurance agent Al Dennis. Across town at the Family Insurance Store in Sparks, agent Amber Polden agreed, telling us, "A lot of people just can't put their cell phone down, they're attached to it."

Meanwhile, fatal car accidents involving older drivers have been declining for over 20 years now, for some very interesting reasons. Seniors are driving less, and they're less apt as an age group to get up to speed on a highway. Dennis said in his experience, "the freeways scare them, so they like all our back roads, out around McCarren loop of the lower roads. They just stay away from the freeways."

He says distractions like texting and gabbing on cellphones are not common among seniors. "Most of the seniors, if they have a phone at all, which many don't still...don't even know how to turn them on."

Plus, older folks drive safer cars. They don't have to drive in more dangerous rush hours, and as age groups go, they wear their seat belts. As a result, rates for older driving deaths are falling the fastest: 27% fewer over the past 10 years, 40% fewer since 1975.

There are efforts to reduce the recent teen driver accident trend. Amber's firm offers a safe driving class for free online. She told us, "We do offer a 5% discount on insurance premiums if the course is taken and completed."

But Al Dennis says parents should go the extra mile, and have their teens take a hands-on course at a drivers school. "They're going to be safer in the long run...the course isn't that costly...but it's worth every nickel."

-written by John Potter

And that free online course being offered by the Family Insurance Store is DMV certified, and its being offered to every Nevada driver. Here's a link to it:


Fatality reports in further detail:




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