Number of the Day: 18 percent

October 23, 2012 | Number of The Day

Teen driving fatalities have been on the decline, but there were still 18 teenage drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes last year. That represents a 10-year decline of 56 percent from 2001, when 42 teen drivers were killed. New Jersey’s dropoff in fatalities exceeds the national average for a similar period by 9 percent.

Nationally, one in 10 teen motor vehicle fatalities are a result of distracted driving, and young drivers are two to three times more likely than older drivers to send a text or email while driving.

Forty percent of all fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur after 9 p.m. Also, teens driving with one or more passengers have nearly twice the rate of fatal crashes than those driving alone.

The Division of Highway Traffic Safety recommends parents retain control of the car keys, because teens who requested permission to use the car were half as likely to be involved in crashes compared with teens who had primary access. Parents can establish a verbal contract with their teens by asking them where they are going, who they are going with, and when they will be back.