A recent report published by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) concluded that if the trend in the first half of 2011 continued, it would mark the first time in 8 years that teenage vehicle fatalities rose instead of declined. Based on preliminary data supplied by all 50 states (including DC), the report compared fatalities in the first half of 2010 with fatalities in the same period from 2011.
Sadly, it concluded deaths for 16 year olds rose 16% and deaths for 17 year olds rose 7%. Overall, this produced an 11% increase for the two age groups. After an 8 year period of decline which they attributed to implementation of Graduated Driver Licenses and adverse economic times, the sudden and significant increase is alarming.
A closer look at the data in this report revealed that the state of Virginia showed a decline. In 2010, there were 4 deaths reported (in the first 6 months) and in that same period of 2011 there were only 2. However, in just the first 5 weeks of 2012, Virginia lost 12 teenagers in vehicle crashes. Talk about alarming. That equates to 1 tragedy every 3 days for the first 5 weeks of this year.
South Carolina and North Carolina, according to the GHSA report both showed increases in vehicle fatalities for 16 and 17 year olds when comparing the data for the first half of 2010 with the same period in 2011. Worse yet, North Carolina’s death toll placed it second highest in the nation. Texas rated the highest increase. Again, looking at the first 5 weeks of this year (2012), North Carolina is poised for an even larger increase when compared to last year.
Even though the GHSA report is limited to 16 and 17 year olds, the statistics for those 18-20 are much the same. They too are on the rise and they’re something every parent and teen driver should be concerned about. Even after 8 years of declining numbers for teenage vehicle fatalities, “driving” remains the number one cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19.
Today, we have the most technologically advanced safety systems in our vehicles. Our road system is one of the best in the world and in the last few years, we’ve implemented more legislation than ever to protect the lives of teenage drivers. But the fact remains, we’ve not done enough.
So while the debate heats up over what to do next to curb the rise of teenage vehicle fatalities, what are you as a teen or a parent going to do to reduce your risk for becoming the next tragic statistic? To do nothing and believe it can’t happen to you (or your child) is nothing short of irresponsible. The odds are stacked against you. Statistics prove that nearly 80% of teenage vehicle fatalities result from “driver error”. One tiny mistake can end your life in a moment.
Learn the truth about your risk or your child’s risk. Learn how “involved” parents can reduce this risk significantly and how advanced training for teens can empower them to develop safe driving habits and behaviors. Safe driving begins in the mind and relies upon sound judgment to make good decisions. Browse our website and learn how our Parent-Teen Seminars can provide your family with a driving GRIP on Life! Let us show you how you can Arrive Alive every time you drive.