According to a new report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), Tennessee topped the list of states with the most teen car accident fatalities in the United States in 2012. Statistics not only showed that TN tied with Indiana for number one on the teen traffic fatalities list with 16 recorded deaths statewide, but also indicated that teen driver deaths as a whole have increased by about 19% nationwide during the past year. This marks the second consecutive year that teen driving fatalities in the U.S. have risen. Here at Michael D. Ponce & Associates, our attorneys would like to remind motorists about the importance of practicing safety behind the wheel and the risk of injuries and fatalities caused by driver negligence. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident in Tennessee caused by the negligence of another driver, contact our law firm today for legal help.
Increases in Car Accident Deaths in the U.S.
The GHSA report, which reviewed the number of deaths nationwide involving drivers aged 16 or 17 during 2012, found that Tennessee tied with Indiana for the most teen traffic deaths in the country throughout last year. The study was the first state-by-state analysis of teen driver fatalities in 2012, and found that car accident fatalities among 16- and 17-year-olds overall increased dramatically during the first six months of the year, from 202 to 240. More specifically, the rate of deaths among 16-year-old drivers increased from 86 to 107 (24%), and the rate for 17-year-old drivers jumped from 116 to 133 (15%). This significant increase in teen traffic deaths coincides with a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) projection indicating that all car accident fatalities increased by 8% during the past year.
Possible Causes of High Rate of Teen Traffic Deaths
The author of the GHSA report, Dr. Allan Williams, notes that these increases could be due to the fact that the benefit of the state Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws may be leveling off, since most have been in place for some time. Williams also speculates that improving economic conditions could be contributing to a higher rate of teen driving, thereby increasing their exposure to risk. While Williams does state that deaths in this age group remain at a historically low level, Kendell Poole, Chairman of the GHSA and director of TN’s Governor’s Highway Safety Office, takes a tougher approach to the data. “Any increase in highway deaths is unacceptable, particularly among our teens. We know from research and experience that teen drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but also a danger to others on the roadways. So these numbers are a cause for concern.”
Contact Our Experienced Attorneys for Legal Help
Although Poole says that authorities in Tennessee have worked extensively to keep teen drivers safe, she admits that “teens remain our most vulnerable population. With advances in technology, we suspect distracted driving deaths among teen drivers are rising.” According to the Tennessee Department of Safety, about 70,000 Tennessee car accidents occur every year, resulting in roughly 50,000 injuries and 1,000 fatalities. If you have suffered injuries in a car accident in Tennessee that you believe to have been caused by another person’s negligence, consult our reputable attorneys at Michael D. Ponce & Associates today. Our law firm is located in Nashville, and our lawyers have experience protecting the legal rights of car accident victims throughout the state.