After years of declines, teen driver fatalities in the United States are up.
According to a survey conducted by the Governors Highway Safety Association, for January to June 2012 versus the same period in 2011, 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths increased from 201 to 240—an increase of 19 percent.
In Kentucky, the number of fatalities increased from six to 12. This ties the Bluegrass State with Alabama and Illinois. Indiana and Tennessee top the list with 16.
The study points to a couple of reasons for the increased numbers:
• The partial economic recovery has led to more teens on the road and greater exposure to risk.
• Fewer states have been strengthening their Graduated Driver Licensing systems in recent years.
Dr. Allan Williams, a researcher who formerly served as chief scientist at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, completed the survey. Williams stresses that while today’s news is certainly not good, deaths in this age group remain at a historically low level.
“We are still at a much better place than we were ten or even five years earlier. However, the goal is to strive toward zero deaths, so our aim would be that these deaths should go down every year.”