Teen deaths from auto accidents on the decline

By: Benny Agosto, Jr.

While car crashes remain the leading cause of death for teens between the ages of 15 and 19, a recent report by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm indicates that the rate of teen fatalities due to auto accidents is falling—and drastically. In the report, “Miles to Go: Monitoring Progress in Teen Driver Safety,” the statistics show a 46 percent decline in teen driver fatalities in crashes between 2005 and 2010, from 2,399 deaths to 1,305. Also, deaths among passengers declined 41 percent, from 1,777 deaths to 1,022.

As hopeful as such statistics are, however, the main problem still remains: teen deaths in auto accidents continue to occur. Additionally, 30 percent of seriously injured teen drivers and passengers in 2009 and 2010 sustained head injuries, including concussions, skull fractures, and traumatic brain injuries.

The fatality rates of teen deaths were evaluated at a state-by-state basis, and the report found a significant variation in those rates. In 2009 and 2010, these fatality rates ranged from 3.9 deaths per 100,000 teens in Massachusetts to 29.1 per 100,000 teens in Montana. The researchers found a correlation between the states having the lowest fatality rates and their implementation of comprehensive Graduated Drivers Licensing programs (or “GDL” programs), a program which Texas employs. A GDL is defined as one that includes at least 50 hours of adult-supervised driving practice, as well as other limitations and restrictions on teen drivers, and that is designed to introduce driving privileges in phases that keep teens out of high-risk situations. The report notes that programs and policies focused on GDL are proven effective strategies for preventing crashes that cause these deaths and injuries.

Benny Agosto, Jr. is a partner at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend in Houston, Texas. For over 60 years, Abraham Watkins has successfully represented injured people and families who fall victim to catastrophes. Our attorneys have the knowledge, experience and resources necessary to obtain just compensation their clients. For more information, please contact the office of Benny Agosto, Jr. at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Sorrels, Agosto & Friend, by letter 800 Commerce Street, Houston, Texas 77002, or by phone (713) 222-7211.