Spike in Teenage Deaths Has North Carolina Groups Ready for Action
One of the defining moments for teenagers in the U.S. is earning a driver’s license, which equates to gaining some independence from parental supervision. This defining moment can quickly turn devastating, however, due to various factors like disobeying traffic laws and distracted driving. There has been an alarming spike recently in the number of teenagers who die in car accidents each year across the nation. Particularly in North Carolina, the rate of teenage driver deaths is on the rise, so safety groups in the state are ready for action.
Spike in Deaths
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. Across the nation, the number of fatalities among 16- and 17-year-old drivers rose from 190 during the first half of 2010 to 211 during the first half of 2011. This was an 11 percent increase. AAA says this trend of more teen crashes and deaths could overturn the history of declining teen driver fatalities since the Graduated Driver License program was instituted in many states in the 1990s.
North Carolina Accidents
The Governor’s Highway Safety Association (GHSA) recently ranked North Carolina as the number two state in the U.S. for teen driver deaths among 16- and 17-year-olds during the first half of 2011. This was a 55 percent increase over 2010 data. A total of 17 teens died between January and June of 2011 in North Carolina. Only Texas ranked higher at 26 teen driver fatalities during these months. The North Carolina Highway Patrol recorded 54 deaths for 14 through 19-year-olds for all of 2011, which was an eight percent rise over 2010.
Ready for Action
The GHSA report did not specify whether factors like failing to yield, excessive speeding, or distracted driving contributed to the rise in North Carolina teen deaths. However, the AAA Carolinas Foundation for Traffic Safety believes these factors play a large part in recent car accidents involving teens in the state. The North Carolina Highway Traffic Safety Research Center is pushing for a higher beginning age limit of 16.5-years-old to help reverse the higher teen death rates and educate teens more about speeding and distracted driving.
Society is Responsible
According to a recent survey by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 86 percent of teen drivers confessed to driving distracted, although 84 percent knew it was a dangerous practice. Many driving and safety experts believe that various members of society, namely parents, law enforcement officers, and driver’s education administrators, all need to work together to help instill and enforce healthy and safe driving practices in teens. Parents, in particular, should be good role models of safe driving for their teenage children. If you or your loved one was recently injured in a car accident in North Carolina, you should know you have rights and options for recovery to hold responsible parties accountable for their negligence. Contact a North Carolina personal injury lawyer today to discuss your case.