For the first time in eight years, there was an increase in teenage deaths due to car accidents during the first half of 2011. Deaths for 16- and 17-year-old drivers increased 11 percent during the first half of last year rising from 190 to 211 deaths. North Carolina was also among the states that saw a significant jump in teen car accident deaths.
Investigators blame several factors for the increase but believe distracted drivers and lack of sufficient education and training are the key issues. Patrols in North Carolina believe speed, passengers and cellphones are the culprits for the majority of the local teen accidents. And although many consider federal regulations to be key in making the roads safer for teens, there is also a strong conviction that rules and consequences need to come from within the home to really make an impact. Studies show that when parents are involved in a teenage driver’s education, teens develop safe and respectful driving habits.
North Carolina State Patrol wants parents do speak up when their children are driving too fast and to teach them the dangers of texting while driving. For their part, NCSP plans to regulate traffic around high schools and step up patrols on Friday and Saturday nights.
The forthcoming highway reauthorization bill will help as well. This bill will provide financial incentive for states to increase and enforce teen driving laws. States will also be rewarded for holding distracted driving seminars and campaigns or other seminars that will teach teens the dangers of not making the road their priority.