Today a study was released by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) which revealed alarming statistic among 16 and 17 year-old drivers in the United States. Their survey of all 50 states and the District of Columbia indicated that driver deaths of teens in this age range increased from 190 to 211 - an 11% increase - during the first six months of 2011. If the current trend remains for the second half of 2011, it will mark the end of eight straight years of declining deaths for people in this age category.
The GHSA felt a lot of the increase may be contributed to the state Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws which have been in place for some time now, but their initial effect has leveled off slightly. The recovering economy also seems to be a contributing factor as more and more young people are getting their licenses and getting behind the wheel.
The study went on to say that there were 23 states which showed an increase in the number of fatalities, while 19 of them showed to have a decrease. The state of Kansas was one of those with a decrease during this six month period.
As a police department, our goal is to reduce the number of injury and fatality accidents across all age groups. The study released by the GHSA is certainly alarming for our teenaged drivers across the country, but we're encouraged by the steps the state of Kansas and the Overland Park Police Department have taken to make sure we do everything necessary to keep these numbers as low as possible.