Teen Driver Deaths Rise, Study Shows

by Jim Adler

Last week’s horrific death of two San Antonio teens in a racing crash underscores an alarming trend: More and more teens are dying on our roads. In fact, in the first half of 2012, teen driving deaths rose markedly after declining for over a decade.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association — a group of state highway offices — deaths of drivers 16 or 17 years old rose a combined 19 per cent over the same period a year earlier. Such drivers are considered “novice drivers” whose driving skills aren’t yet honed.

Broken down, 107 deaths occurred for 16-year-old drivers in the first half of 2012, compared to 86 in the previous year. And 133 deaths for 17-year-old drivers happened in the first half of 2012, compared to 116 in the first half of the previous year.

Actually, Texas went against the national trend. The Lone Star state had two less deaths of 16- and 17-year-old drivers in the first half of 2012 than in the first half of 2011.

Sixteen other states had decreases, while 25 states had more teen driving deaths. Eight states had no change.

The national increase of almost 20 per cent more teen driving deaths is alarming, especially after such deaths had declined between 2000 and 2011.

Final 2012 statistics aren’t available yet, but it’s suspected that traffic deaths overall — not just teen deaths — increased in 2012. We’ll know when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration releases a full report.

Jim S. Adler & Associates urges all drivers to be cautious, but especially teens who may not have learned enough lessons behind the wheel. Let’s hope they don’t have to learn the hard way.

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