According to the CDC, almost 2,400 teenagers aged 13 to 19 were killed in car crashes in 2019. This amounts to about seven teens dying daily in car crashes.
The North Dakota Safety Council is hoping to change the attitudes of drivers before they ever get behind the wheel.
Summer is usually the time to go out, have fun with friends and travel. But these months, especially in the state, are also known as the 100 Deadliest Days.
“South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, all of the surrounding states and us, we have the highest percentage of fatalities that involve teen driving,” said Don Moseman, Training Director with North Dakota Safety Council.
According to Vision Zero North Dakota, in 2019, 12 percent of fatal car crashes in the state involved a teenager.
Moseman says a common misconception is that more crashes happen during the winter, especially in states where they are heavier.
“But actually when the roads are dry and we’re in the midst of summer the number of crashes typically double,” Moseman.
Gene LaDoucer with AAA says there are many factors that can cause these deaths.
“Those teen drivers become a distraction to young teen drivers and maybe talk them into doing things that they shouldn’t,” said LaDouce.
But the North Dakota Safety Council is hoping to change that by offering Alive at 25, a driving course that teaches you defensive skills while behind the wheel.
“Alive at 25 deals with the attitude of driving, it deals with decision making,” Moseman said.
Skills like not following too close behind another vehicle and how and when to use turning signals, but drivers up in age can also be at risk for dangerous driving.
According to the CDC, in 2018, 7,700 adults aged 65 and older were killed in traffic crashes, which is why a four-hour defensive driving course is targeted to help educate senior citizens.
“It covers all the things those elderly drivers need to know. We have a huge cross-section of older drivers that take those courses,” Moseman said.
The safety council says they are not seeing many people in the Alive at 25 courses but hopes that more people begin to sign up for it.
“As our skills diminish as we get older, both vision, hand-eye coordination, we do statistically are involved in more crashes. So, therefore we need to adjust how we drive,” Moseman said.
Taking the Alive at 25 courses also lowers driver’s insurance. The defensive driving course for older residents can be taken every three years.
For more information on drivers ed courses, click here.