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Teen driver safety emphasizes supervision

Of the 902 vehicles involved in crashes in American Samoa from January 1, 2013 up to October 21, 2013, thirty-three of them involved teens.


This week, Oct. 20-26, is National Teen Driver Safety Week and the DPS Office of Highway Safety is joining the national campaign to emphasize the need for constant supervision of teens behind the wheel.


According to data from OHS, of the 33 crashes involving teens this year, one was a 15-year-old male, and four were males between 16 and 17 years old.


A total of 28 crashes involved drivers in the 18-19 age group (17 males and 11 females).


All resulted in no injuries except the 18-19 age group which reported one injured male.


At this moment, there is no telling whether the drivers within the 17 and under age group had driver’s licenses or learner’s permits but according to the Office of Motor Vehicles, drivers who are 16-17 years old are allowed to carry a learner’s permit, but only allowed to operate a vehicle when there's a licensed driver with them.


No one under 16 is allowed a permit or a license, while those who are 18 and older are allowed to get their private driver’s license after completing a two-week drivers course and taking their drivers test.


The only vehicle crash fatality for this year was a male passenger in his early 20s who died last month after the vehicle he was riding in hit a utility pole in Pava’ia’i. The driver of the vehicle was intoxicated and has since been criminally charged.


According to data received by Samoa News, none of the teen crashes this year were alcohol related.




Based on statistics from OHS, the total number of crashes where there was property damage  adds up to 455. The total number of vehicles involved: 902, while the number of persons injured currently stands at 87.


According to the data, the most crashes were recorded in the Tafuna area (118 total). Nuuuli followed with 75 crashes and Fagatogo came in third with 52. Other areas that recorded double digit crash figures include:


•            Utulei (39)


•            Pago Pago (28)


•            Ili’ili (20)


•            Fagaalu (18)


•            Malaeimi (17)


•            Satala (14)


•            Pava’ia’i (13)


•            Leone (12)


The total number of vehicles involved in crashes includes seven motorcycle accidents — one each in Aua, Avaio, Leone, Pago Pago, and Tafuna, and two in Nu’uuli.




The data also includes a total of 20 crashes involving pedestrians who were struck by a vehicle.


According to the OHS figures, the highest pedestrian crashes occurred on Wednesdays and the time of day is between 12noon and 1p.m.


A pedestrian____ was involved in a crash this year in Amouli, Asili, Aua, Auto, Fagaalu, Leone, Malaeimi, Nu’uuli, Pava’ia’i, and Vaitogi; while two pedestrians each were struck in the villages of Fagatogo, Faleniu, Satala, Tafuna, and Utulei.


OHS program coordinator Fred Scanlan said in an initial interview that accidents involving teen drivers are not a major problem in the territory, “and we want to keep it that way.”


He urges parents to remember that driving is a privilege and their constant supervision of teen drivers is needed in order to keep their teens, as well as other motorists and pedestrians, safe on the road.