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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Teen Deaths In Car Crashes On The Rise

This photo released by the Leicester, Mass., Police Department shows a car early Saturday, April 21, 2007, at the scene where four teenagers died Friday night in a high-speed crash that left a fifth teen hospitalized in critical condition. (Leicester Police/AP)

This photo released by the Leicester, Mass., Police Department shows a car early Saturday, April 21, 2007, at the scene where four teenagers died Friday night in a high-speed crash that left a fifth teen hospitalized in critical condition. (Leicester Police/AP)

New numbers from the Governors Highway Safety Association show a significant spike in teens deaths from auto accidents.

Preliminary data shows 240 crash deaths of 16- and 17-year-olds in the first half of 2012 – an increase of 19 percent.

Seventeen states saw decreases, and eight states and the District of Columbia reported no change.

Overall numbers for highway deaths also increased last year, after years of decline.

Researchers behind the data speculate that the increase in teen deaths could be attributed to a plateau in the benefits of graduated licensing programs, as well as an increase in teen driving due to improved economic conditions.


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  • http://twitter.com/JohnnyFroggg J Frog

    Youth!  I have no answers, but I am reminded of a quote from the Pulitzer Prize winning novel “The Magnificent Ambersons”:  “…at twenty-one or twenty-two so many things appear solid and permanent and terrible which forty sees are nothing but disappearing miasma. Forty can’t tell twenty about this; that’s the pity of it! Twenty can find out only by getting to be forty.”

  • M.

    Maybe parents might not be getting as involved as they should because they themselves are driving and talking on the phone too.  I would be very comfortable saying that 90% of the erratic/distracted driving that I encounter during my daily morning/afternoon commutes are adults drivers!

    • Paul Erna

      Me too… The biggest killer is still DUI at 10,000 vs 3000 for distracted driving http://zautos.com/distracted-driving-infographic-dangers-of-distracted-driving/

  • charles

     It would be simple enough to determine if someone was distracted because of a cellphone / smartphone usage by simply checking the record of the driver’s account, if only those records were available to researchers and/or law enforcement.We could adopt laws that allow for that information to be available without disclosing the particulars (details) of the users account if we seriously wanted to address the issue.  I’m all for privacy rights but I also know that the general public welfare is at risk and getting riskier. I’m all in favor of a law that makes a driver involved in an accident to automatically be considered responsible if she/he were using his phone at the time.  If a driver were aware that he would be liable for an accident, he would be more likely to forgo that phone call when he’s speeding down the freeway or blindly running those red lights.

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      we should get Tim Murrey one of those phones

  • nlpnt

    I wonder if it’ll level off and recede a bit as the 17-19-year-olds who’d held off on getting licenses/cars, having done so, gain experience and the number of new drivers regresses to the mean.

  • Priscilla

    In addition to the obvious impact of cell phone and text messaging, the dramatic cuts in highway patrol and driver education budgets must be included as one of the factors for increasing deaths on the highway. Thanks for another informative show!

    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      lol seems to be plenty of cops on the highway. do you really think the number of cops patrolling effects traffic deaths? here in mass we pay for our own drivers educations classes

  • Mike

    I was surprised that the issue of distracted driving was not front and center of this conversation. It almost seemed that if Robin had not brought up the topic Ms. Harsha may have skirted it completely. Why? Sure, statistics can be somewhat whimsical and there are numerous factors at play in these percentages but I’d certainly wager the lesser of which are economic, municipal, etc. 

    There is no shortage of data proving the toll of distracted driving on our roads. Even cell phone companies have launched elaborate campaigns to publicize safety initiatives. And more frightening than reading reports and statistics is the real world data all around us. More often than not, the driver in the car next to us is engrossed in his/ her phone instead of the road. This trend is only magnified in younger generations raised in a culture of increasingly ubiquitous technology coupled with the over-glorification of multi-tasking.Regardless of the “inconclusiveness” of the statistics, the notion that this issue is one of mysterious economic/ civic fluctuation rather than one of persistant and problematic behavioral trends in our society is ridiculous. Especially coming from the GHSA.

    Governors Highway Safety Association site: http://www.ghsa.org/html/issues/distraction/index.html


    • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

      dont worry the first self driving cars come out in 2015.

  • http://www.facebook.com/futo.buddy Futo Buddy

    how can this happen? all cars are registered and there are universal background checks to drive them. when are we going to just decide to stop this senseless killing and ban cars. no one really needs cars.

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Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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