The rate of death among 16 and 17 year old drivers in fatal car accidents increased in the first half of 2012 over the rate seen in 2011, according to a study by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Many experienced Illinois car accident attorneys have also noted the increase.
The study examined data gathered from all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. It sounds that among 16 and 17 year old drivers, deaths increased by an overall rate of 19 percent. This number includes a 24 percent increase in deaths among drivers age 16, from 86 deaths in 2011 to 107 deaths in 2012, and a 15 percent increase in deaths among drivers age 17, from 116 deaths in 2011 to 133 deaths in 2012.
These numbers are preliminary analyses based on only six months of statistics. However, if the trend holds true throughout to 2012, it will mark the second year in which teen driver deaths increased in the United States. Deaths also increased in 2011 after eight years of decline, according to the GHSA.
Researchers say that several factors could be contributing to the increase in teen driver deaths. For instance, as the economy improves, more teen drivers are taking to the roads to travel to work, school, and other activities. Also, while graduated driver licensing programs caused significant decreases in teen driver deaths when they were first implemented, these gains may be leveling off. The GHSA notes that although teen driver death rates increased in 2011 and 2012, overall numbers of deaths remain much lower than they were before graduated driver licensing programs were implemented in all 50 states.