Data shows teen driver deaths on the rise - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Teen driver deaths on the rise

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The Governors Highway Safety Association released new data on Tuesday that shows a spike in the number of deaths of 16 and 17-year-old drivers.

Based on the preliminary data, the number of 16 and 17-year-old drivers who died in cars nation-wide was higher for the first six months of 2012 than 2011. The number of 16 year olds who died in the same time period jumped by 24 percent, while the number of 17 year olds who died jumped by 15 percent.

One possible reason for the big increase? The economy. Experts believe when the economy tanked, teenagers were the first group of drivers to stop driving casually. Now, teens are driving more as the economy slowly recovers.

Not every state saw an increase in deaths. Georgia is one of 17 states where the number of deaths decreased. Harris Blackwood, Director of the Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety told WTOC what's working in the state.

"Our graduated drivers license seems to be working. We've seen a decrease in the number of 16 year olds that are obtaining their full drivers license, and an increase in the number of 17 year olds."

He also said this is not necessarily a moment to celebrate, but a time to recognize there's still work to be done.

"This is the season beginning right now and continuing through summer where we see the most teen injuries and fatalities as we approach prom season, graduation and the excitement of summer."

To read the study in full, click here.

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