According to a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), our teen drivers are at higher risks on our roadways than previously believed. The report concluded that the number of fatalities among 16- and 17-year-olds in traffic accidents in the U.S. skyrocketed during the first six months of 2012. Officials estimate a near 20 percent increase from the year before, jumping from about 200 fatalities to close to 250.
The new report from GHSA looked at all state records for teen driver fatalities in 2012. According to Dr. Allan Williams, former chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), these increases coincided with the numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Our Deerfield Beach car accident attorneys understand that teens saw the most dramatic increase during this time, despite the fact that there was only an 8 percent increase in the number of overall traffic fatalities throughout the year. For 16-year-old drivers, there was an increase of 24 percent in the number of fatalities and a 15 percent increase among 17-year-old drivers. Twenty-five states reported increases in these numbers. Only 17 reported any decreases and 8 reported no change at all.
Dr. Williams believes that this number is climbing because each state’s Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) program and laws have largely been enacted. He says that they’ve been in place for too long without much enforcement. It’s the enforcement and awareness of these laws that help to make them effective.
He also believes that the improving economy is to blame as well. With a steady economy, Americans spend more time behind the wheel. When our teens are driving more, we can expect higher accident rates.
“Based on 2011 final data and the early look at 2012, it appears that we are headed the wrong direction,” said Dr. Williams.
What’s worse is that these drivers are not only endangering themselves out there, but the rest of the motorists on the road. This is why the driving habits of our teens needs to be a concern for everyone.
According to the report, there were close to 10 teen drivers killed in car accidents during the first 6 months of 2012.
Parents and guardians are asked to talk with the teen drivers in their family frequently about the responsibilities they have behind the wheel. It’s important that we’re all aware of the state’s GDL laws and that we’re all helping to enforce the rules of the road. Where parents and guardians feel we need more laws — they should feel free to go ahead and enact them.
This is especially important during the month of March. We’re heading into that season where there are more teen drivers on our roadways than ever. We’ve got spring break, prom, graduation and a number of other festivities. Keep tabs on your teen driver. Make sure they understand what it takes to stay safe behind the wheel.
If you or the teen driver in your family has been the injured or killed in a car accident, contact Freeman, Mallard, Sharp, & Gonzalez at 1-800-561-7777 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights.
More Blog Entries:
South Florida Traffic Accidents and Teen Deaths — A Direct Connection, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, February 10, 2013