This past December we reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had found traffic fatalities in 2010 were at their lowest level since 1949. Unfortunately, another study released yesterday by the Governors Highway Safety Association reveals that the number of 16- and 17-year-old driver deaths is headed in the opposite direction.

While NHTSA has yet to release overall numbers for motor vehicle deaths in 2011, projections for the first six months have overall fatalities declining 0.9 percent. The number of teen driver deaths during that time, however, increased 11 percent from 190 the year before to 211, according to the report. The study is based on preliminary data from all 50 states and the District of Columbia that counts the number of drivers in this age group who died behind the wheel during the first six months of 2011. The states with the highest increase in teen driver deaths during that time were Florida, Texas and North Carolina.

While data for the last half of 2011 wasn't included in the report, if the trend continued through New Year's, it would mark the end of eight straight years of decline fatalities for this age group. As for why it's happening, the researchers behind the study specifically cite the benefits of Graduate Driver Licensing laws, which have been around in many states since the '90s, finally leveling off.


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  • 62 Comments
      whofan
      • 2 Years Ago
      The kids need to get the hell of those cell phones. You know they`re on them behind the wheel because they`re on them all the time any other time.
      js
      • 2 Years Ago
      Two words. "distracted driving".
      Autoblogist
      • 2 Years Ago
      I cant tell whether the girl in the picture is having fun or screaming to her death.
      Pam
      • 2 Years Ago
      I didn't get a car until I saved up and could afford one (that means monthly payments, insurance, gas and all those little extras). And you can be damn sure I wasn't a teenager when I bought it. Not saying that it's for everyone but maybe injecting a little responsibility into these teens lives would help instead of just giving them a car.
      Raymond M
      • 2 Years Ago
      Is there any correlation to drug and alcohol consumption? Is there a correlation with technological distractions in the car? Friends in the car? There are many variables that are listed here. It all comes down to responsible driving.
      Big Squid
      • 2 Years Ago
      OMG I totally can't believe teens R doing stupid stuff behind the wheel LOL. Mabye it has something to do with them being easily distracted and unable to put down their damned smartphones? And now manufacturers are including more and more "infotainment" in their vehicles to make the problem worse. WTF? DOA.
        ldamato84
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Big Squid
        I resent that. I'm 17 and yes, there are a lot of people my age texting or doing whatever on their phones, but I see a lot of adults doing it too. Maybe it's just a Jersey thing, but adults are just as guilty as teens from what I see.
      ebneila
      • 2 Years Ago
      Teens using cells and texting is the problem. I drive a motor cycle which offers a good view of drivers in cars. Everyday I see young people tail gating while talking and/or texting.. Idon't know how many times I've had to take evasive manuvers to avoid collisons with SUV drivers because they don't see me while they talk on cell phones. Laws banning cell phone usage while driving has been shot down because many law enforcement people do the very same thing. Road accidents will increase until something is done to stop this dangerous trend
      js
      • 2 Years Ago
      Two words. "distracted driving".
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        foci
        • 2 Years Ago
        Dan- Several states have raised the min age to drive. The data shows that the number of accidents that involved "new" drivers did not significantly decrease. The age of the driver is only one small part the of the much larger issue of inattentive drivers.
      emme
      • 2 Years Ago
      Everyone, including the government, needs to start treating driving as a privilege, not a right. There are far too many accidents because far too many people shouldn't be allowed to drive. I think it's horrible that people with DUIs/DWIs are still allowed to have a license because anytime you drink and drive, you endanger yourself and others. The only difference between a slap on the wrist and jail time is a fatality, and that's just a matter of luck, really. What's more, the whole system is corrupt - it's not about punishing people, it's about making money. Lots of people should have lost their licenses by now due to their recklessness, yet they haven't because they are able to have their charges lowered to something with fewer to no points and just a higher monetary penalty - and they know that. Furthermore, while bluetooth does make it easier to talk on the phone while driving, it still makes for a distracted driver. Why can't people understand that when they drive all they should be doing is driving? I can't imagine anything else being more important than safety.
      ALAN R DUNN SR
      • 2 Years Ago
      I THINK EVERY 16YEAR OLD AND 17 YEAR OLD SHOULD BE MADE TO HAVE AT LEAST 12HOURS OF DRIVING SHOOL INSTRUCTIONS FROM A STATE APPROVED DRIVING SCHOOL AND ONCE PASSING THERE DRIVING TEST THE PARENTS MUST BE WITH THEM WHEN THEY DRIVE FOR AT LEAST 1 YEAR SOME 16 YEAR OLD KIDS SHOULD NOT EVEN BE ALOUD TO RIDE A TRICYCLE LET ALONE LEARN TO DRIVE. A CAR.I KNOW I AM AN X DRIVING SCHOOL INSTRUCTOR.
      Big Squid
      • 2 Years Ago
      OMG I totally can't believe teens R doing stupid stuff behind the wheel LOL. Mabye it has something to do with them being easily distracted and unable to put down their damned smartphones? And now manufacturers are including more and more "infotainment" in their vehicles to make the problem worse. WTF? DOA.
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