Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Metro Milwaukee among safest cities for teen drivers

A report released by Allstate insurance company this month finds the metro Milwaukee area is among the "least deadly" places for teen drivers.

The study analyzed federal crash statistics, Allstate claims data, and U.S. Census data to score the 50 largest metro areas nationwide on their rates of fatal accidents involving teen drivers. Milwaukee ranked 45th, just behind Boston and ahead of Cleveland.

High speeds most often were the cause of these crashes, but drugs and alcohol can play a part, too. The study finds Milwaukee had the fewest drug-related crashes, at 0%, but relatively high alcohol-related crashes, at 11%. Speed was the contributing factor in over 40% of all fatal crashes involving teen drivers in metro Milwaukee.

In addition to ranking the metro areas, the study highlights the disparities in fatalities between rural and urban areas. Nationally, fatal accidents occur two times more frequently in rural areas than in urban areas, with 51.5 fatal crashes per 100,000 teens outside metro areas versus 25.4 such crashes per 100,000 teens in the metro areas. The pattern held true in Wisconsin, where the metro rate is 23.4 fatal crashes per 100,000 teens but the rural rate is 47 fatal crashes per 100,000 teens.

Despite being mostly rural, states like California, Utah, Oregon, and Washington had fewer than 24 fatal crashes per 100,000 teens, while Wisconsin's mostly rural nature resulted in a rate of 30.1 fatal crashes per 100,000 teens. Thus, certain state policies are thought to play a role in reducing fatalities. For example, while the lack of a seat belt was a contributing factor in a third of all crashes, in California the seat belt non-usage factored into as few as 7% of crashes in San Jose. All six California metro areas ranked at the bottom for unbelted fatalities.

The contributing factor found most often in Milwaukee? Lack of a seat belt, a contributing factor in 45% of fatal crashes.

No comments: