AAA Statement on GHSA Report Showing Increase in Teen Driver Fatalities in First Half 2011
Teen driver safety advocates comment on recent fatality data.
(WASHINGTON, Feb.17, 2012) Although the report from the Governors Highway Safety Administration shows a disappointing increase in deaths among 16- and 17-year-old drivers in the first half of 2011, the longer-term data in the report highlight the success of graduated driver licensing (GDL). A decade of legislative victories improved teen driver licensing systems and led to eight consecutive years of falling fatality levels from 2003 to 2010. Teen driver deaths have fallen more than 50 percent during the 15 years since passage of the nation’s first three-stage GDL system in 1996. The pace of new GDL enactments has slowed considerably during the last couple years, however. If state legislatures continue to improve licensing processes for teens, we can resume our progress in keeping teens safe on the road.
As an advocate on teen driver safety for more than 75 years and a leader in advocacy and research into better teen licensing, AAA concurs with report recommendations that improving laws and increasing compliance with state GDL systems are two key opportunities to resume the downward trend in teen driver deaths.
Graduated driver licensing has been shown to be highly effective at reducing teen crashes, deaths, and injuries, but it is not our only path to improving teen driver safety. Parents play a key role in setting rules and working with their teens to become safe teen drivers. AAA has a range of programs that can help parents keep their teens safe on the road, from driver education classes and parent-teen driving agreements to our award-winning teen driver safety website for families, www.teendriving.aaa.com.
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