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Teen driving fatalities are on the rise - what can be done?

Much effort has been made in the past decade to help teen drivers stay safe on U.S. roads, and our nation has seen a decline in teen driver fatalities. The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) however, reports that drivers who are 15 to 20 years old are still 1.6 times more likely than others to be involved in a fatal crash. In fact, fatalities among teen drivers were up 10 percent in 2015, the first uptick since 2009, and higher than the 7.2 percent increase in overall fatalities.

So what can be done to stop this upward trend and keep teenagers safe on our roads? The GHSA released a report that addresses just these issues.

The GHSA report, Mission Not Accomplished: Teen Safe Driving, the Next Chapter, was made possible by a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund, examined crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 2005 to 2014. It examines the differences in fatal crashes between older and younger teens as well as by gender. 

"This report drives home the message that there is still much to do to reduce teen driver fatal crashes and the resulting deaths," GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins said in a recent press release. "We need to continue to support effective public policies that address this issue and make sure that all drivers under 21 years of age have access to programs that improve teen driver safety."

In the report, the GHSA recommends 11 policies and best practices for states to implement and calls for an expansion of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) is a three-stage licensing system that can reduce teen crash risk by as much as 30 percent. 

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