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More Teen Driver Deaths in 2011

A new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that more teen drivers are dying on the road.

Researchers compared the statistics from the first six months of 2010 and the first six months of 2011. Results showed that, nationwide, the number of 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths increased from 190 to 211–an 11% increase. The states that had highest numbers of increased deaths were Illinois (+8), Missouri (+7), Florida (+6), and North Carolina (+6). This means that, sadly, North Carolina contributed to the higher statistics. In fact, our state had a 55% increase in teen deaths for the measured period. Overall, NC had the second-highest total number of deaths (17), after Texas (26).

This is a race we do NOT want to be winning.

According to an article in The New York Times, the trend has been a decrease in teen deaths over the years. That’s why these new numbers are frightening.

“I think it’s going to be a wake-up call,” Dr. Allan Williams, a road safety consultant and the former chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Mr. Williams prepared the report released Thursday. “What’s remarkable is that in the last few years, deaths in those age groups plummeted, so even a slight reverse is a matter of concern,” he said.

What’s even worse, past analyses have shown that more road fatalities occurred in the second half of the year than the first half… and overall motor vehicle deaths for all age groups declined 0.9%. This makes the teen death increase highly disturbing.

Troy E. Costales, Chairman of GHSA, said:

“As the parent of a young driver and a soon-to-be-driver, I know firsthand the pressures parents face in allowing their teens behind the wheel. As parents, we must set and enforce strict rules for our new drivers, making sure risks are minimized. This includes limiting other teens in the car, limiting nighttime driving and absolutely prohibiting any type of cell phone or electronic device use while driving.”

Wise words, but follow-through can be difficult. The education process doesn’t stop once a teenager has his or her drivers license.

What do you do to encourage your child to drive safely? Please post your thoughts on our Facebook page: (http://www.facebook.com/HensonFuerst)

RESOURCES

To read the full article in The New York Times, click here:  Fatalities among teenage drives rose in first half of 2011

To see full report by the GHSA, including a state-by-state chart of numbers, click here:  Teenage driver fatalities by state

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