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GHSA report finds dramatic increase in teen driver deaths

Last week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a shocking report revealing that the roads and highways here in the U.S. have recently become much more dangerous. Indeed, the report found that 17,775 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents during the first half of 2016, marking a 10.4 percent increase from the same time last year and a continuation of an otherwise disturbing trend.

On the heels of this unsettling report, comes another from the Governors Highway Safety Association, a prominent vehicle safety advocacy group, detailing how more must be done to mitigate the fatal accident risk facing teen drivers. 

After examining data from 2005-2014 in the NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System, the GHSA researchers reached the following conclusions about teen drivers:

  • Fatal motor vehicle accidents involving teens rose by 10 percent in 2015, marking the first increase since 2006
  • Teen drivers are 1.6 times more likely to lose their lives in a motor vehicle accident than adults
  • Drivers between 15-17 years old saw significantly more improvement in their overall fatal accident rates than drivers 18-20 years old, with older teen drivers being involved in more fatal collisions  

According to the GHSA, while these numbers are certainly disconcerting, there are steps that can be taken to help reduce them. Indeed, some of the recommendations made in the report include:

  • Expanding Graduated Driver Licensing programs to cover all drivers under the age of 21 given that the 18-year-old opt out rate currently in effect in the majority of states prevents many younger people -- as many as one in three -- from realizing their considerable benefits
  • Introducing safe driving programs at colleges
  • Having parents continue to monitor and instruct teen driving practices post-licensure
  • Raising awareness about dangerous practices (distracted driving, impaired driving, etc.) through more high visibility law enforcement campaigns

Here's hoping that news of the GHSA's report continues to make the rounds during next week's National Teen Driver Safety Week and, by extension, that we can reverse these statistical trends as soon as possible.

If you've been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident caused by the reckless actions of another, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your rights and options for seeking justice. 

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