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Report: South Carolina Teen Driver Fatalities Double

The number of teen driver fatalities doubled in the first six months of 2012, as compared to a year earlier, according to a new report by the Governors Highway Safety Association.Our Gaffney car accident attorneys also know that nationwide, teen driver deaths shot up by 20 percent in that same time frame.

Researchers were looking specifically at 16- and 17-year-old drivers, noting an increase from 202 deaths from January through June of 2011 to 240 deaths from January through June of 2012.

Among 16-year-olds, there was a 25 percent hike, while 17-year-old drivers saw a 15 percent increase.

South Carolina was among 25 states that saw an increase, with statewide deaths increasing from 4 to 8.

North Carolina, meanwhile, was one of a few states that saw a sizable drop, with 17 deaths reported in the first half of 2011, down to 9 deaths in the first half of 2012.

But even one is too high.

It’s worth noting that drivers between the ages of 18 to 24 actually have fatality numbers that are far higher than those between the ages of 16 and 17, but that probably has a lot to do with the fact that there are far more of them.

For one thing, South Carolina has yet to alter its graduated driver’s licensing program to increase the age limit for a learner’s permit from 15 to 16, with full privileges given at 18, not 16, as is the current law.

The state has, however, prohibited any more than two under-21 passengers with teen drivers unless they are traveling to and from school.

What may have been a bigger factor, according to GHSA researchers, is the economic recovery. With more available jobs, teens and young adults are no longer competing with more qualified adults for entry-level, low-wage jobs. More cash in their pockets means more gas money. It also means they will be on the roads more frequently due to commuting to and from work, as well as school.

Those who may have saved up a little extra of that cash may be planning to head out for spring break in the next several weeks. It’s worth noting that even if they aren’t heading too far out of town, South Carolina is home to 75 colleges and universities. Beaches in Charleston, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head are prime destinations for local spring-breakers.

Make sure your teen or young adult knows the rules. Stay sober, or at the very least, make sure at least one person is so that he or she can be a designated driver and look out for the rest. This goes for boats as well as cars.

Try to avoid having your kids drive any long distances, as you may risk the possibility of drowsy driving – which can be just as fatal as drunk driving. If possible, have them take a plane or hire a driver. Encourage them to pick a hotel that is close to where they want to spend the majority of their time, so there will be little temptation to drive after drinking.

If you have been involved in a car accident in Gaffney, contact Grimes Teich Anderson LLP. Call 1.800.533.6845. No Attorney Fees Until You’ve Been Paid, exclusive of case costs.

Additional Resources:
New Study: Teen Driver Deaths Increase in 2012, Feb. 26, 2013, Press Release, Governors Highway Safety Association
More Blog Entries:
Improved Laws Would Mean Fewer Car Accidents in Carolinas, Jan. 30, 2013, Gaffney Car Accident Lawyer Blog

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