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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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Teen Driving Deaths Surge

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Teen Driving Deaths Increased In 2012

USA Today reported that teen driving deaths increased nearly 20% in the first half of 2012. The increase in teen traffic deaths was more than double that for overall traffic fatalities.

If the numbers hold true for the second half of 2012, it would mark the second straight year of increases in deaths of teen drivers. In 2011, road deaths of 16- and 17-year-old drivers rose 3%, ending eight straight years of declines.

USA Today, Deaths surge among youngest drivers

One safety consultant pins the increase on two factors: (1) an improving economy providing teens with more disposable income, which leads to more driving; and (2) a leveling off safety benefits from graduated licensing laws.

Not mentioned in the article is the issue of distracted driving. A poll from early 2012 showed that nearly all teen drivers knew that distracted driving – including texting and driving – is dangerous, but nearly half admitted to texting while driving anyway. Just last weekend, I was nearly run out of my lane on the Interstate by a young lady texting while driving at 70 mph.

Other factors, according to AAA, include distractions, the number of passengers in the vehicle, driving too fast, and limited visibility at night.

When more teens are in the car, new drivers are inherently more likely to be driving at night and are more likely to be driving faster, according to AAA Utah's press release.

Deseret News, Teen drivers with three or more peer passengers have quadruple the risk for crashes

Some experts have suggested moving from a patchwork of state driving requirements to a single, national driving standard for new drivers.

Regardless of the causes, one thing is for certain: teen driving deaths are far too frequent and something must be done to keep our children – and the rest of the driving public – safer.

[More on Distracted Driving]

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