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GHSA releases study on teen car accident deaths and injuries

Most people are probably aware that teen drivers are more dangerous on the roadways than drivers in other age groups. A recent study by the Governors Highway Safety Association reveals there was a 10 percent increase in teen car accident deaths in 2015. However, the study also found that car accident fatalities of people ages 15 to 20 dropped 51 percent from 2005 to 2014, while serious injuries were down 59 percent in the same age group during the same period of time.

Louisiana teens are not necessarily reckless drivers, but they may lack the experience and skills to drive safely. Many teens don't know what to do when faced with a road hazard. Graduated driver licensing programs are intended to help with that. In fact, the overall decrease in teen auto accident fatalities and injuries has a lot to do with the GDL programs implemented by each state.

While the laws vary depending on which state you are in, teens are generally subjected to restrictions until they become more experienced drivers. For example, some GDL programs ban cellphone use and restrict late-night driving for teens. In many states these restrictions will be lifted once the teen turns 18. One-third of teens also put off getting their licenses until they are older, which can also play a role in reducing the number of teen deaths and injuries on the roadways.

To further lower the risk posed by teen drivers, the GHSA recommends that GDL programs expand to include all drivers under 21. This gives teens more time to mature and learn to make responsible choices behind the wheel. As a result, both teens and other motorists will be safer.

Source: The Washington Post, "Car crashes remain leading cause of death for teens, but fatalities drop by almost half in a decade," Ashley Halsey III, Oct. 12, 2016

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