Distractions, such as talking with passengers or using cell phones while behind the wheel, play a far greater role in crashes involving teenage drivers. New startling statistics released by AAA Colorado says distractions are a factor in nearly 60 percent of teen crashes.
AAA reports that interacting with passengers and using a cell phone while operating a vehicle are the number one distractions for teens. In 2013, crashes with driver's aged 16 -19 years old resulted in over 380 thousand injuries, and just under 3 thousand deaths. This is something law enforcement is trying to prevent.
"We want them to arrive alive, and the sad fact of all this is that every year we seem to lose a junior or a senior out of a high school class in the Valley. That's gut wrenching for us," said Dan Chermok with Colorado State Patrol.
Law enforcement isn’t the only ones noticing the dangers. With increased access to technology comes more distractions, and driving schools are doing what they can to teach young drivers as well.
"Just everything that is around them. Surroundings, traffic, we watch it all the time. It's extremely important. It's a life skill,” said Tom Trogdon with the Western Slope Driving Institute.
Western Slope Driving Institute says they take their young drivers through a 30 hour program with hands on driving scenarios, as well as teaching traffic laws.
"There are still those few that do have the fatality accidents and were trying to stop that. And believe it or not, right now, texting and driving is killing more people than drinking and driving," Trogdon said.
Colorado State Patrol says that for teens, operating a cell phone while driving is a one point ticket, but teens only have a total of 4 points on a license. AAA says that teenagers actually have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States.