Teen Driving Deaths Increase After Decade of Decline
The number of teens killed in car accidents increased sharply in the first half of 2012, according to a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association. This ended a decade-long trend of steady declines.
According to the report:
- Deaths of 16- and 17-year old drivers rose a combined 19 percent since 2011.
- There were 107 16-year-old drivers killed in car accidents between January and June 2012, compared to 86 drivers during the same period in 2011.
- There were 133 17-year-old drivers killed in car accidents between January and June 2012, compared to 116 drivers during the same period in 2011.
- Twenty-five states reported increases, 17 had decreases and eight states and the District of Columbia reported no change.
- There were 435 16-year-old drivers killed in all of 2000. That number dropped to 173 by 2011.
Although significant efforts have been made to protect younger drivers, one official said that "teens remain [the] most vulnerable population." The same official suspects that the rising number of deaths could be the result of distracted driving involving a driver preoccupied by some form of technology.
The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety insist that this rising number should encourage lawmakers to make passing stronger teen driving laws a priority.
A report by the National Safety Council states that in addition to the increase in teen driving deaths, all traffic fatalities rose by 5 percent, the first increase since 2005.