It seems 16 and 17 year old drivers have been dying on the nation’s roads at an increasing rate in the past two years, after years of decreasing numbers.
The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) reports that:
Preliminary data indicate deaths of 16- and 17-year-old drivers are up 19 percent between the first six months of 2011 and the first six months of 2012. The data was provided by GHSA members, who were surveyed in late 2012. All 50 states and the District of Columbia responded to the survey. This report analyzes the data provided. If the final 2012 data follows this trend, then 2012 would be the second year in a row of increases in teen driver deaths, following eight years of decline.”
In this new study, released February 26, GHSA calls the increase “dramatic” but noted that deaths in this age group are at historically low levels. The report suggests that improving economic conditions and a leveling off of the benefits of state Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws may be key explainers of the increase. The report was compiled by Dr. Allan Williams, a researcher who formerly served as chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Dr Williams says that, “Based on 2011 final data and the early look at 2012, it appears that we are headed the wrong direction when it comes to deaths of 16- and 17-year-old drivers,” but he also notes that “We are still at a much better place than we were ten or even five years earlier.”