Acquiring a driver’s license is an American rite of passage – it can be a thrilling time for teens and an incredibly stressful time for parents. Young drivers quickly become delighted with the realization that with nothing more than a set of keys and a few dollars for gas, the potential for adventure is unlimited. For parents, however, the anxiety of knowing just how dangerous the highways can be is nearly overwhelming. These parental anxieties coupled with the chilling reality of teen auto accident rates have prompted many changes in the way states educate, test, and license young drivers. Thanks to the implementation of safety initiatives over the past decade, the country has seen a steady decline in the number of teen deaths caused by car crashes. Sadly, however, according to a recently released report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), that decline has slowed and the numbers may now be on the rise.
In the 1990s, federal and state agencies began implementing programs aimed at reducing the number of teenage car accident-related fatalities. As these initiatives grew and were subsequently revised and improved, the number of teenage driver deaths began to fall. Programs such as graduated license programs, safety education programs and mandatory seatbelt laws spread throughout the country and the downward statistical trend in teen car crash deaths continued. From 2000 through 2010, the number of driver deaths of 16-year-olds dropped from 435 to 157 and driver deaths of 17-year-olds fell from 564 to 250. In addition to these focused programs, the economic downturn suffered throughout the United States since 2007 may have forced reductions in the miles driven by teens and may have ultimately helped to reduce the overall number of car accident-related teen deaths.
For teen drivers, however, recent data shows that the historic downward trend may have come to an end. During 2011, auto accident driver deaths of 16-year-olds increased over 2010 numbers while the deaths of 17-year-old drivers essentially remained the same. The troubling news comes from preliminary 2012 data featured in the GHSA report which shows that the previous downward trend may not have simply leveled off, but may in fact, be reversing. The statistics provided by all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the first half of 2012 show that the numbers for both age groups has increased compared to the same time period in 2011. Moreover, the 2012 January to June numbers show an increase in 16-year-old driver deaths of 24% and of 17-year-olds of 15%.
Until more data becomes available, the causes of these increases may not be fully understood, but these disturbing numbers indicate that the programs started in the mid-’90s may have reached a saturation point. Further, improvements in the economy may have nullified the previous reduction in the miles driven by teen drivers. Regardless of the causes, society must do what it can to reduce the number of teen auto accidents. It is important for parents, educators, and community leaders to reinforce responsible driving habits for teens. The Ardmore personal injury attorneys at Silver & Silver encourage you to talk to your teens about the dangers of driving and these simple ways to mitigate the danger:
- Wear seat belts
- Obey traffic laws
- Keep a safe following distance
- Don’t use electronic devices while driving
- Don’t drive while impaired
The Personal Injury Lawyers of Silver & Silver – Knowledgable, Skilled Auto Accident Litigators
If you or a family member has been injured as a result of the negligent operation of a motor vehicle, the Ardmore personal injury attorneys at Silver & Silver can help. Our dedicated and compassionate team of skilled auto accident lawyers will fight for the compensation you deserve to help you recovery from your injuries. Our offices are conveniently located in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, in the Philadelphia region and we serve all of southeastern Pennsylvania including Montgomery County, Delaware County, Chester County and Bucks County. The personal injury attorneys of Silver & Silver are experienced, successful, and compassionate professionals with the best interests of our clients as our top priority. For a free consultation to discuss your auto accident case, please call Silver & Silver at 800-947-4583 or contact us online.