New Study Finds Teen Driver Deaths Increased In 2012

A couple weeks ago, we addressed the increasing problem of distracted driving and the effect it is having on motorist safety.  That post discussed the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety report finding that distracted driving is a significant concern and quite common behavior among drivers.

Now, a report released late last month by the Governors Highway Safety Association (“GHSA”) has concluded that the number of sixteen and seventeen-year-old drivers who have died in traffic accidents has increased dramatically for the first six months in 2012.  The report found that deaths of sixteen and seventeen-year-old drivers jumped from 202 to 240 between 2011 and early 2012, an increase of nineteen percent.

Compiled by researcher and former chief scientists for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Dr. Allan Williams, the report is based upon surveys conducted of GHSA members, consisting of many state traffic safety agencies including the Maryland Highway Safety Office.

Dr. Williams believes that the sharp increase in teen driving deaths can be attributed in large part to the leveling off of the benefits of Graduated Driver Licensing programs.  Dr. Williams also concluded that an improvement in the economy has resulted in more teen drivers, exposing them to a greater risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Although the increase is certainly not a movement in the right direction, Dr. Williams emphasized that the number of teen driving deaths remains historically low.  “We are still at a much better place than we were ten or even five years earlier.  However, the goal is to strive toward zero deaths, so our aim would be that these deaths should go down every year,” indicated Dr. Williams.

According to the report, the number of sixteen-year-old driver deaths increased twenty-four percent from 86 to 107, and the number of seventeen-year-old driver deaths increased fifteen percent from 116 to 133.  Twenty five states reported overall increases in teen driving deaths.  The numbers were not all bad, however, as seventeen states reported decreases, and eight states and the District of Columbia reported no change.

Executive Director of GHSA, Barbara Harsha, advised that, in order to reduce the number of teen driving deaths, states should consider driving programs that involve parents in the learning process.  According to Harsha, “Parents have a huge responsibility to ensure safe teen driving behavior. States can facilitate this by providing innovative programs that bring parents and teens together around this issue.”

The attorneys of Edwards, Phillip, Amourgis, PC are particularly concerned with the results of this new report and encourage all states to heed the Harsha’s advice by implementing and strengthening teen driving programs.

If you, your family or friends have been involved an accident in which you sustained injuries, you may need legal representation to protect your right to compensation.  The qualified Maryland car accident attorneys at our firm have extensive experience representing individuals who have been injured by negligent drivers.  If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, contact us today.

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