In the past decade, great strides have been made in the effort to keep drivers ages 15 to 20 safe on U.S. roads. More work needs to be done, however, as teenagers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults.
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), our country saw a 10 percent increase in teen-involved crash deaths in 2015 – the first increase since 2006. The GHSA has issued a report that calls upon State Highway Safety Offices, teen driving advocates and other concerned parties to work to prevent this uptick from continuing.
The GHSA report, Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter, was funded by a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund. It examined vehicle crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) spanning from 2005-2014, including differences between genders as well as 15 to 17 year-olds compared to 18 to 20 year-olds.
Recommendations in the report include an expansion of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) to all drivers under age 21. It also includes 11 policy and best practice recommendations for states to implement that include increased training for older teen drivers, high visibility enforcement, continued parental involvement and safe driving programs at colleges.
“This report drives home the message that there is still much to do to reduce teen driver fatal crashes and the resulting deaths,” GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins said in the press release. “The increase in teen driver fatal crashes is concerning and states are keeping a watchful eye to see if this is the start of a reversal in the gains we’ve made over the past decade. We need to continue to support effective public policies that address this issue and make sure that all drivers under 21 years of age have access to programs that improve teen driver safety.”