COLLEGE STATION, TX -- The number of drivers involved in nighttime fatal crashes nationwide has increased over the past decade, even as crash fatalities overall have declined during the same period, according to a new study. 

The study, conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University, was sponsored by the Center for Transportation Safety in Colorado.

While the number has been climbing for drivers of all ages, the increase has been sharper for teenage drivers than for those age 20 and older. 

Findings from this study — the first of its kind in the U.S. — suggest that the increase for older drivers is linked to increased alcohol involvement in crashes. For teen drivers, however, alcohol use has declined slightly, suggesting that the increased nighttime danger for young drivers is connected to rapid growth in cell phone use behind the wheel. 

Study findings demonstrated that, while cell phone use and nighttime conditions each present dangers for drivers, the combination of the two can create the potential for a “perfect storm.”