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What's at Risk from Unlicensed Teen Drivers: One in 25 Admit to Driving Without a License
Date:11/3/2008

Researchers see more fatalities associated with this overlooked group

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A study released today from the research alliance of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm Insurance Companies(R) in the journal Pediatrics sheds light on an often-overlooked group of teen drivers: those without a license. According to national traffic fatality data, this group is disproportionately involved in fatal crashes. The 2006 National Young Driver Survey (NYDS) of more than 5,500 teens across the country revealed that about six percent of students in grades 9 through 11 reported driving unsupervised without a license. However, according to the national fatality data, a full 20 percent of 14- to 18-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2006 did not have a license. This means unlicensed teens are significantly over-represented in fatal crashes.

"According to our survey, unlicensed teen drivers engage in unsafe driving behaviors more often than their legally driving peers," says Flaura Koplin Winston, M.D., Ph.D., co-scientific director of CHOP's Center for Injury Research and Prevention and a co-author of the study. "Unlicensed teens are more likely to report not wearing a seat belt, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and driving without a purpose, behaviors known to be associated with fatal crashes." Dr. Winston co-wrote the study with Michael Elliott, Ph.D., a biostatistician at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Kenneth Ginsburg, MD, M.S.Ed. of CHOP.

"This issue also impacts those who share the roads with unlicensed drivers," notes Laurette Stiles, vice president of Strategic Resources at State Farm. "As the nation's largest auto insurer we are committed to working with researchers, educators, and parents to reach out to all teens to address risky teen driving behaviors."

Researchers say knowing which teens are driving without a license mak
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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
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