POSTED: Sunday, February 26, 2012 - 9:58am
UPDATED: Monday, February 27, 2012 - 10:20am
A preliminary report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, gathered from all 50 states, for the first six months of 2011, states that there is an increase of 11% in teen driving deaths among 16 to 17 year old drivers, nationwide.
As of now, authorities at NHTSA are looking at the remaining half of 2011 and if the numbers continue to reflect what the first half of the year showed, officials say we've got a real problem.
"We're going to be looking at an increase in teen death fatalities, it will spike from the last eight years," say TX Dot Traffic Safety Specialist, Ruby Martinez.
In the lone star state specifically...
Texas reported 26 driving fatalities within the first six month of 2011 among 16 to 17 year old drivers.
While the exact causes of these state and nationwide teen driving fatalities are still being broken down, Martinez says that there are some definite factors that play a role in these fatal accidents.
"We know that the most dangerous time for teens is at night, from 6pm to 3am in the morning," says Martinez.
It's during these overnight hours that teens are most at risk while behind the wheel.
The very top concern surrounds distracted driving, relating to things like texting, for example, but Martinez says, drinking and driving, speeding and not buckling up are also causes of death.
While the seat belt compliance rate among all drivers in Texas is at 94-percent, that last little bit of non-compliers are a particular group of teens.
"We know that six-percent of those that are not buckling up are males ages 16 to 20," says Martinez.
Current campaigns like the Teen Click It or Ticket campaign are underway to really stress the importance of wearing seat belts. A mangled truck, taken over by Tx Dot is currently traveling around the state of Texas as a visual reminder on the importance of wearing seat belts. The truck, which was carrying two teens, crashed after a blowout. Both the driver and passenger made it out with only minor injuries because they were buckled up.
So while there are efforts in place to make teen drivers safer on the roads, officials say more still needs to be done; figuring out what exactly that consists of is what Tx Dot and the NHTSA are currently working on.
"So now with that report that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is conducting, then we're going to see what they require for each state to do," says Martinez.
She adds based on findings from each state, the government will direct Tx Dot on appropriate campaigns and programs that would best suit Texas in tackling the serious issues concerning Texas' teen drivers.
For a closer look at teen driving accidents and death, and how to prevent them, you can find additional information at the link below.