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Teen driving fatalities rose 10 percent last year, first increase in a decade

Teen driving fatalities increased 10 percent in 2015, the first increase since 2006, says a study from the Governors Highway Safety Association.

The study, which analyzed fatal crash data from 2005–2014 involving drivers aged 15-20 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System, found that teen drivers are 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults. The national fatality rate rose 7.2 percent in 2015. (GHSA chart: Teen drivers in fatal crashes)

teen crashes

National Teen Driver Safety Week is Oct. 16-22. Vehicle fatalities are the leading cause of death among Americans aged 15-19, according to Traffic Safety Marketing, part of the National Center for Rural Road Safety.

In 2014 fatal crashes claimed the lives of 2,679 teens 15-19 and resulted in 123,000 injuries.

The study reports ventures that the rise in teen fatalities in 2015 can be linked to a greater number of teens driving.

teen driver

“Analysis of teen and adult drivers found that while teens, as a proportion of all insured drivers, dropped during the recession and bottomed out at 3.8 percent in 2012, that rate is once again on the rise, climbing to 4.1 percent at the end of 2014. (The adult insured rate also dropped during the same time period, but the drop was significantly less than that of teens.)”

From 2005-14, fatal crashes dropped 56 percent among divers aged 15-17 and 44 percent among those 18-20. Blood-alcohol content above the legal limit played a role in 28 percent of deaths for drivers 20 years old, 24 percent among 19-year-olds, 19 percent among 18-year-olds, 18 percent among those at age 17 and 8 percent for those 15 or 16.

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The Rural Blog is a digest of events, trends, issues, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, from the IRJCI, based at the University of Kentucky. The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues is an extension program for rural journalists and news outlets. It takes no positions on issues and advocates only for strong news coverage, responsible commentary and things that make them possible, such as open-government laws. For more information see www.RuralJournalism.org.

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