NC State Highway Patrol: Teen Driver Deaths Up 12%

by Gwen Newell

Unfortunately, a good number of high school programs have had to be reduced due to COVID-19, as well as the increasingly difficult ability to retain critical staffing to deliver these intensive programs. These programs offer both quality and meaningful information that’s important to teen students who face grave dangers from behaviors including speeding, aggressive driving and distracted driving often due to simply never being told about the dangers.

In a recent interview, State Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Chris Knox reported that North Carolina teen driver deaths were up 12% in 2020 with 142 deaths from January 1 to November 20. And as of December 18, that number had since increased to 151 teen fatalities in 2020.

NHTSA’s preliminary findings estimate that the first half of 2020 shows a continued decline in fatalities, but there’s a catch. In the second quarter of 2020, as COVID-19 restrictions went into effect, traffic volume decreased at a pace greater than fatalities. So, while the overall number of national deaths went down, there was an increase in the fatality rate per 100 million vehicles miles traveled. We lose many teenagers each year to various causes, but automobile crashes account for the largest group, averaging around 40%.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is committed to educating and raising awareness about the dangers teens face behind the wheel and has funded over 200 research projects designed to reveal the causes of crashes, prevent them and minimize injuries when they occur.

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