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Report finds teen car crash deaths "spiked" in 2015

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), a nonprofit group that represents the highway safety offices of states throughout the country, recently released data from a report that was designed to study fatal crash rates.

What did the study find? Ultimately, the study found that drivers ranging in age from 15 to 17 were significantly more likely to get into a car crash than their older, more experienced counterparts.

More specifically, teens are 1.6 times more likely than adults to get into a fatal crash. The study also found deaths for teen involved crashes were up 10 percent in 2015 - the first increase in teen-involved auto accident deaths since 2006.

What can be done to reverse this trend? Researchers with the study provided a number of suggestions to help stop this troubling trend. One example involved continuing the focus on teen driving behavior through effective public policies.

One such policy discussed by researchers with the study involves the use of the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) program. The program is used in all 50 states and utilizes a three-step licensing system. This system, according to the GHSA, has reduced the teen crash risk by up to 30 percent. However, critics point to the fact the GDL program generally ends at age 18 as a flaw.

Why is the program ending at 18 a flaw? Aren't these the inexperienced drivers we are hoping to educate? Although these are the teens we are aiming to educate, ending the program at 18 may be premature.

Approximately one in three teens do not receive their driver's license before turning 18. As a result, older teens in areas where the program ends at 18 are not benefiting from this program. This could be changed by expanding the GDL program to end at the age of 21.

What about those who are injured in teen-related car accidents? Unfortunately, even when steps are taken to reduce the risk of car accidents, crashes still happen. Those who are the victims of these crashes can hold a negligent or reckless driver responsible through a personal injury lawsuit.

How can a personal injury lawsuit help victims? Victims can receive monetary awards from these lawsuits. These funds can be used to help cover the many costs associated with the accident - costs such as hospital bills, rehabilitation costs and medications as well as lost wages.

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