This week, the Governor’s Highway Safety Association released a new car wreck report finding that the number 16- and 17- year old driver deaths increased 19% in the first six months of 2012 compared with 2011. This is an alarming trend. After a decade where we saw the fatality rate decrease significantly, this rapid increase is a cause of concern.
The report speculates on a number of potential factors. Obviously, the most important factor is the increased number of electronic distractions in vehicles — text messaging, phones, etc. A second factor is economics. The authors of the study suggest that as the economy has improved then there are more teen drivers on the road.
There is a bit of good news/bad news for those of us in Texas. The good news is that we actually saw 2 fewer young teen deaths in 2012 than 2011. The bad news is that we still remain among the “leaders” for most fatalities. Depending on the count you use, Texas is among the 3-4 worst states in this category.
The lesson is to keep working hard on making improvements. That ultimately falls to those of us who are parents to continue preach safety to our kids (and perhaps more importantly, to model safe and cautious driving).