Recently, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) examined deaths of 16 and 17 year old drivers through the first six months of 2011 and found an 11% increase over the same period in 2010. Deaths of 16 year olds rose 16% and 17 year olds 7%, for an overall jump of 11%.
The study by the GHSA, which represents states on highway safety issues, covers only the first half of last year. According to the report traffic accident deaths usually rise during the second half of the year, which includes summer and vacation driving. If data for the second half of 2011 continue the trend, it would be the first time in almost a decade that deaths have risen for this age group of drivers.
According to the report, the rise is caused by two things:
•The improving economy means more teens on the roads. The recession probably helped reduced travel among teen drivers in 2008 and 2009; those drivers are returning to the highways.
•The impact of phased-in driving privileges for teens – graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs – is leveling off. These laws, implemented and strengthened in the mid-1990s, are in found in Arkansas.
The report found that Arkansas only had a slight increase in teen accident deaths. However, any teen death is too many. I wrote about new laws in Arkansas concerning teens’ use of cell phone while driving. It can be found here. If you have any questions about teen driving law in Arkansas, please contact me to help answer any questions about Arkansas driving laws.