Parents in the Northwest, pat yourself on the back. According to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association, teen drivers in Washington and Oregon are among the safest in the country. This is especially poignant, given that teen driver fatalities have suddenly risen in the U.S. after many years of decline.
The study found there was a 19 percent increase in traffic deaths of 16- and 17-year-old drivers during the first six months of 2012 as compared to the same period in 2011. Comparing the two periods in Oregon, there was just one fatality in the first half of 2012 and none in that same period in 2011.
Washington saw a decrease in fatalities. During the first six months of 2011, six 16- and 17-year-old drivers died. During the same period the following year, there were no traffic fatalities.
Deadliest States for Teen Drivers in 2012
Indiana and Tennessee: 16 deathsLouisiana: 15 deaths Texas: 14 deaths Alabama, Illinois and Kentucky: 12 deaths
January - June 2011
- 16-year-old driver fatalities: 86
- 17-year-old driver fatalities : 116
January - June 2012
- 16-year-old driver fatalities: 107
- 17-year-old driver fatalities: 133
"With the advances in technology, we suspect distracted driving deaths among teen drivers are rising," said Kendall Poole, director of the Tennessee highway safety office and chairman of the GHSA.
That said, we have still seen a sharp decline over the last 12 years. There were 435 16-year-old drivers killed in 2000. Fast forward to 2011, just before the current one year increase, the total dropped to 173.