Drivers and passengers are injured or killed every week on our North Carolina roads, but a new study suggests that teens may be more at risk of being involved in a fatal car accident compared to others.
A recently released study shows that the number of teenage drivers dying in car accidents is on the rise despite an overall decline of fatal car accidents in the U.S. This represents the first time in approximately eight years that teen traffic accident fatalities may have increased.
According to researchers, in the first six months of last year, teen deaths in car crashes rose by 11 percent, with 17-year-old drivers’ deaths increasing by 7 percent. The number of traffic deaths involving drivers who were only 16 years old increased by an alarming 16 percent.
A total of 211 16- and 17-year-old drivers died during the first six months of 2011, increasing from 190 the year before. The increase in teen driver deaths was spread over 23 states. North Carolina, with 17 teen motorist deaths recorded, was the second highest state in the country, exceeded only by Texas, with 26 such fatalities.
The study did not reveal whether talking on cell phones or texting while driving played a role in the increase in teen fatalities. Some speculate that an improving economy may be contributing to more teens having better resources to drive. Many believe teen drivers have too many distractions when behind the wheel including mobile devices and their own friends. In order to help reduce the number of teen deaths resulting from traffic accidents, some recommend limiting teen driving at night and limiting the number of other teens riding as passengers in vehicles driven by other teenagers.
Statistics for the final six months of 2011 are not yet compiled or available. The summer months, experts say, usually involve a higher number of teen motorist deaths than earlier in the year, so the statistics for the second half of the year may wind up being worse than those already released.
Source: AOL.com, “Deaths Of Teen Drivers On Pace To Rise For First Time In 8 Years,” Pete Bigelow, Feb. 16, 2012