Young Drivers and High School Site Selection

This document comes from the National Highway Safety Research Center.  It references rural versus in town roads.  While many in the area do not consider the Newman site to be rural or remote, it is true that it is currently cultivated in corn and soybeans, that the roads surrounding the site have the characteristics of rural rather than suburban or town roads, and that the site’s location will require between 25% and 50% more vehicular miles to be traveled for the students in the district as a whole.

High School Site Selection: Issues to Consider Regarding Young Driver Crashes

  • More crashes occur in town, but serious injury and fatal crashes are a great deal more likely on rural roads
    • During the period 1977-1996, rural crashes accounted for 58.1% of all crash deaths at a rate of 3.35 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT), compared with a fatality rate of 1.75 per 100 million VMT on urban roadways (Brown, L.H. 2000).
    • The difference in risk is even greater for teens, who are more likely to be involved in a rural crash than drivers of any other age group, except for drivers age 85 and older (Zwerling, C. 2005).
    •  Higher speeds, fewer traffic control devices, non-graded curves, and less enforcement are thought to increase the risk of injury crashes in rural areas (Zwerling, C. 2005).
    • Higher fatality rates among rural crashes have been attributed to delays in crash detection, reporting, emergency medical response, and patient transport times (Brown, L.H. 2000).
  • A school situated in a remote location would likely require teens to travel further distances to and from school, both for school and extracurricular activities. In addition, unless the school system provides bus transportation and students utilize it; having a school in a remote location could lead to more teens driving versus using other modes of transportation (e.g. biking, walking, public transit). Both of these would lead to a greater crash risk for teens.
    • Per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash. (CDC, 2010).
  • Having a school located in a remote location could lead to more teenagers carpooling to school, whereby increasing their crash risk. Teen passengers increase fatal crash risk for teen drivers (Chen et. al., 2000).
    • For 16 year old drivers:
      • 1 passenger = 39% increase driver death
      • 2 passengers = 86% increase in driver death
      • 3+ passengers = 182% increase in driver death
    • For 17 year old drivers:
      • 1 passenger = 48% increase driver death
      • 2 passengers = 158% increase in driver death
      • 3+ passengers = 207% increase in driver death

Brown, L. H., Khanna, A., & Hunt, R. C. (2000). Rural vs urban motor vehicle crash death rates: 20 years of FARS data. Prehospital Emergency Care : Official Journal of the National Association of EMS Physicians and the National Association of State EMS Directors, 4(1), 7-13.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2010).Teen Driver’s: Fact Sheet.

Chen, L. H., Baker, S. P., Braver, E. R., & Li, G. (2000). Carrying passengers as a risk factor for crashes fatal to 16- and 17-year-old drivers. JAMA : The Journal of the American Medical Association, 283(12), 1578-1582.

Zwerling, C., Peek-Asa, C., Whitten, P. S., Choi, S. W., Sprince, N. L., & Jones, M. P. (2005). Fatal motor vehicle crashes in rural and urban areas: Decomposing rates into contributing factors. Injury Prevention : Journal of the International Society for Child and Adolescent Injury Prevention, 11(1), 24-28.


One Response to Young Drivers and High School Site Selection

  1. Pingback: Response to Misconceptions | Downtown Dragons

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