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Safety advocates alarmed by increase in teen driving deaths

Recently we shared a post about predictors of when teens could be involved in car crashes. Now a new study is suggesting that teen traffic deaths actually increased in the U.S. in the first half of 2011. If the numbers stayed that way in the second half of the year, it would be the first such yearly increase in several years.

Safety advocates are concerned with the numbers, and for good reason. There were 211 fatal car accidents involving teenager drivers in the first half of 2011. According to a New York Times article, fatal crashes involving 16-year-olds increased from 80 to 93 when compared with the year before. There were 118 deadly accidents involving 17-year-old drivers, up from 110 compared to the first half of 2010.

So, why is this happening after so many years of decline? One possible explanation is the improving economy. While the tough economy may have prevented some teens from paying to get their license or from purchasing gas, the gradual turnaround could mean that more teens are driving regularly for the first time.

A chief scientist with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety also believes the effects of graduated licensing laws, which are designed to protect teens, may be wearing off. He views the new data as a "wake-up call" to the states that saw an increase in teen traffic deaths. Overall, 23 states reported increases, while 19 saw decreases and eight reported no change.

More could be done, the scientist says, noting that every state could institute improvements that would help protect teen drivers.

Source: New York Times, "Fatalities among teenage drivers rose in first half of 2011, study finds," Tanya Mohn, Feb. 16, 2012

1 Comment

Driving is a huge responsibility that must be learned in steps and practiced over and over. We have to drive safely, obey the traffic laws, and respect the rights of other drivers. Not only should we concentrate on our own driving, we should also be well aware of the other vehicles around us. Driving safely also includes how and where we park our car. Passengers in our car put their safety in our hands and expect us to drive safe as well.

We shouldn't be stressed, tired, or distracted; driving should be our only focus. We need to be both mentally and physically capable of controlling our vehicle.

It is our responsibility, as a driver, to know the laws governing driving privileges. Driving safety course will helps us a lot.

Remember, driving is a privilege, NOT a right. Finally, safe driving requires a good attitude.

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