A recent report from the Governors Highway Safety Administration (GHSA) warns that an eight-year downward trend of deaths among teen drivers may be coming to an end. Preliminary data from the GHSA shows that more teen drivers ages 16 and 17 were killed in the first six months of 2011 than in the first six months of 2010.
Data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia indicated a 16 percent increase from 80 to 93 deaths for 16-year-old drivers, and a seven percent increase from 110 to 118 deaths among 17-year-old drivers in the first half of 2011. Together, they represent an 11 percent increase overall from 190 to 211 deaths among teen drivers ages 16 and 17.
Over 20 states saw a rise in teen driving deaths in the first six months of 2011, including Pennsylvania, which experienced a 25 percent increase in teen driver fatalities.
Researchers are contributing the sudden surge in teen deaths to the leveling off of the positive effects of state graduated driver licensing programs that began in the mid-1990s. Additionally, they cite the improving economy as another reason more teen drivers are taking to the roads and then ending up involved in fatal car accidents.