In the wake of the tragic accident in Warren, Ohio that killed six teenagers, the focus has turned to teen driver safety. Unfortunately, the news may not be good. A recent study showed that, despite a drop in recent years, auto accident deaths for 16- and 17-year-old drivers during the first six months of 2012 were up 19 percent compared to the same time period in 2011.

The Governors Highway Safety Association looked at preliminary data provided by all 50 states and the District of Columbia for the first six months of 2012. Here is what the GHSA found:

  • The number of deaths in auto accidents for 16-year-old drivers increased by 24 percent, with 107 deaths during the first months of 2012 and 86 deaths during the same time period in 2011.
  • The number of deaths for 17-year-old drivers increased by 15 percent ¾ from 116 during the first half of 2011 to 133 during the same time period in 2012.
  • Ohio was one of 25 states that reported an increase in teen driver deaths from six during the first six months of 2011 to nine during the first six months of 2012.
  • Eight states and the District of Columbia reported no change, and 17 states actually had decreases.

The GHSA concluded that this increase was “a signal that renewed efforts are needed.” The group recommended that resources be used on measures that already are working or can be shown to reduce deaths. It noted that graduated driver licensing has contributed to the drop in deaths that had occurred up to 2010 but that the trend to make upgrades in those procedures has dropped. Also, upgrades in drivers education have been introduced in some states but need to be made in more states.