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Fatal accident rate among teens is spiking

Posted by Smiley & Smiley on Mar 7, 2013 11:54:53 AM

For various reasons, teens are at a higher risk for dying in a car crash now than they have been in years. A new report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) indicates that in the first six months of 2012, teen auto accident fatalities jumped nearly 20 percent over the same period in 2011. This number is particularly significant as teens died at more than double the rate of deaths in auto accidents generally during this time period.

What is causing teens to die at far more significant rates than the rest of the driver population? Agencies and safety experts are attributing the spike to a few factors. First, the economy is improving so more drivers are on the road for longer periods of time. Given the inexperience of teen drivers, increased congestion and travel time are likely contributing to a higher likelihood of severe accidents.

Second, distracted driving practices are now ubiquitous. Teens are especially likely to engage in distracted driving behind the wheel and this decision can be deadly. Increasing numbers of fatal car accidents are being attributed to distracted drivers. When teens fail to put their cellphones down and pay attention to the road, the consequences can be devastating.

Finally, experts suggest that states are not doing enough to prepare novice drivers. Graduated drivers' licensing programs are not rigorous enough, they say. General driving conditions, personal responsibility and governmental oversight all seem to be contributing to a significant spike in teen motorist deaths. All must therefore be urgently and adequately addressed in order to protect the nation's youth moving forward.

Source: USA Today, "Deaths surge among youngest drivers," Larry Copeland, Feb. 26, 2013

Topics: car accidents, motor-vehicle-safety, teen-drivers

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