Increase in Teen Driver Deaths: How to Stop a Tragic Epidemic

Increase in Teen Driver Deaths: How to Stop a Tragic EpidemicThere aren’t many things that a teenager wants more than to drive, especially without one of their parents being a backseat driver.

However, driving is not a right; it’s a privilege, and it doesn’t come without (and it does go beyond) taking and passing driving school, driving instruction, and of course, the driving test to acquire a license. Even after a teen has his or her license, parents must step up and enforce rules to help their teen be responsible as a new driver and not get carried away with their newfound freedom.

A recent report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) revealed that 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths across the U.S. jumped from 190 to 211 between the first six months of 2010 and the first six months of 2011. Although an 11 percent increase may not seem like much to some, any rise in motor vehicle accident deaths is a call for change. This is certainly the case considering that before this data was collected, the last eight consecutive years reflected decreases in fatalities for this age group.

Dr. Allan Williams, the researcher who completed the report, believes that the main reason for the rise in teen deaths is associated with an apparent disregard or decrease in importance of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws throughout the country. These laws have been around for quite some time but the recent increase in fatalities raises the question as to whether these laws need to be better enforced and/or enhanced. Dr. Williams also suggested that a better economy may contribute to a rise in teen driving since their exposure to the risk of being in a car crash increases with the availability of motor vehicles for transportation.

According to the report, 23 states experienced increases, 19 experienced decreases, and eight states as well as the District of Columbia experienced no change. Despite the fluctuations for state-by-state fatality numbers being relatively minor, some states, including Florida, Texas, and North Carolina, noted significant increases. To help lower teen driving deaths, Congress may provide appropriate funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to research and support demonstration projects for identifying the most influential methods to increase teen seat belt use and compliance with GDL laws.

Deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents are some of the most devastating due to their sudden and unexpected nature. If you have lost a loved one because of a driver’s negligence, you have the right to pursue justice and compensation. At Carpenter, Zuckerman & Rowley, our California car accident attorneys are committed to protecting the rights of those who have lost a loved one in an accident caused by another’s recklessness. To find out more about how we can help you through this difficult time, please call 213-514-8332 for a free consultation.