Washington, District of Columbia — February 26, 2013
A national study reports that the fatality rate for teenage drivers has increased nearly 20 percent from 2011 to 2012.
According to a survey completed by Governors Highway Safety Association members, 25 states reported an increase in teenage driver fatalities, eight states and the District of Columbia reported no change, and 17 states reported a decrease. Overall, the fatality rate for 16-year-old drivers increased 24 percent while the fatality rate for 17-year-old drivers increased 15 percent, resulting in a combined 19 percent increase. While these rates are some of the lowest in history, it is still a disturbing trend.
Officials believe that economic progess may be a factor in this increase as more teenagers are able to afford to drive and, therefore, put themselves at greater risk of becoming involved in a motor vehicle accident. In addition, the impact of some states’ graduated drivers’ license programs may be decreasing as either the laws are no longer enforced as regularly or the programs are no longer being re-evaluated and retooled to keep their impact at as high a level as possible.
Statistics prove again and again that teenage drivers are at the highest risk of causing, becoming involved in, and being injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident. Something needs to be done to change this, and this most recent GHSA survey may be just the right impetus for nationwide change.