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What can be done about teen driver fatalities?

Obtaining a driver's license is an important rite of passage for most teenagers. As new drivers, however, teens may be more likely to make mistakes that result in serious accidents. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), despite recent efforts to keep teens safe, drivers ages 15 to 20 are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults. In fact, teen crash fatalities increased 10 percent in 2015, the first uptick since 2006.

What can be done to increase safety for young drivers on the road? The GHSA has released a report that examines the problem and provides recommendations for state policy improvements regarding education and licensure.

The GHSA's report, Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter, was made possible by a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund. It examined crash data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2005-2014, comparing data between older and younger teens as well as by gender.

As a result of this research, the GHSA recommends all 50 states expand the Graduated Driver Licensing program to include all individuals under 21. They also provide 11 recommendations for state polices and best practices.

"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 regarding the report. "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."


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