A dismaying new report indicates teens are higher risk of a fatal car accident on Long Island and across the country than they have been in the last eight years.
While the statistics don’t come as a complete shock to Long Island car accident attorneys, they are concerning nonetheless. At minimum, this information warrants a stern discussion with your teen about the dangers they face every single time they get behind the wheel.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, the number of teen drivers who were killed in auto accidents in the U.S. during the first six months of 2011 climbed by 11 percent. That was for both 16 and 17-year-olds. Research showed that the younger the driver, the more danger he or she was in. While deaths for 17-year-old drivers increased by 7 percent, deaths of 16-year-old drivers was up a startling 16 percent. Just to remind you: that is within the course of a single year.
Additionally, this is all while the total number of fatal accidents is on a downward slope.
So what’s happening with our teens?
There are a number of theories. One proffered by the governors association indicates that the effectiveness of graduated driver’s licensing laws is beginning to taper off. Essentially, these laws protect teens from taking on too much at once. They allow each young driver to build up the skills necessary by restricting everything from the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle with them to the time of day they can get behind the wheel. These are steps many parents were taking anyway.
In New York, teens have to be at least 16 before they can have a learner’s permit. Then for the first six months, New York teens have a restricted license that requires they complete at least 50 hours of drive time (15 of those have to be at night). They are also prohibited from driving between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., and aren’t allowed any more than one teen passenger before they reach the age of 21.
Dr. Allan Williams, who was the chief scientist overseeing the governors’ association study, said these kinds of laws have been in place for quite some time. Additionally, he wondered whether the economy might actually be having an impact on the increased numbers. He surmised that because the economy is doing poorly, teens may more often be put in a position to drive in order to help out their parents. This could be either shuttling younger siblings or simply getting themselves around while their parents may be working longer shifts or a second job. When teens are on the road for extended periods of time, Williams said, they inevitably increase their chances of a fatal Long Island car accident.
Williams said while the new numbers were not necessarily surprising, he said states shouldn’t assume that this is something that can’t be prevented.
Talking with your teen is the first step you can take.
The Law Offices of Nicholas Rose, PLLC is dedicated to helping victims recover from traffic accidents in New York City and elsewhere throughout the state of New York. If you or your teen driver has been injured in a car accident, call 1-877-313-7673 to receive a free consultation from an experienced car accident lawyer.
New Study: Teen Driver Deaths Increase in 2011, GHSA
More Blog Entries:
Teens Facing Dangerous Risks for Car Accidents in New York, Nation