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Study shows car accident deaths rising for teen drivers nationally

According to a new report, more teenagers between the ages of 16 and 17 died as a result of a car accident in the first half of 2011 compared to the first half of 2010. For the past eight years and up until the new report, there had been a steady decline of car crash deaths in this age group. However, if the increase in fatalities continued through the second half of 2011 (accident authorities are still compiling these numbers), it would break the eight consecutive years of a decline in fatalities for young teen motorists.

The report was prepared by road safety consultant Dr. Allan Williams of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Williams stated that even a slight increase was definitely a matter for concern.

Williams stated that the increase could be attributed to the fact that the economy has been improving. During more troubled economic times, he notes, teens may not have been able to afford the cost of gas and obtain a drivers license. He also pointed to the laws surrounding licensing, which he believes could be improved. For instance, states including Ohio could reconsider the number of passengers they allow in a vehicle being driven by a teen driver or put stronger restrictions on night driving.

The chairman of the Governors Highway Safety Association, Troy E. Costales, stated that in order to reduce the number of teenage fatalities, parents should generally be more closely supervising their young family drivers, and the efforts on driver education should be refocused.

Source: New York Times, "Fatalities among teenage drivers rose in first half of 2011, study finds," Tanya Mohn, Feb. 16, 2012

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