A report released by the Governors Highway Safety Association reveals the number of 16 and 17-year-old driver deaths dramatically increased in the first six months of 2012. Indiana data also revealed the state has one of the biggest problems in the country.
“It was a horrific crash,” said Melvin Nott, the Farmland Town Marshal who spoke with FOX59 last year after a fatal teen crash in October of 2012.
Authorities said the 17-year-old driver behind the wheel had been drinking before the car made impact with a passing train. The driver and another teen were killed.
“I just miss him, you know,” said Brock Rings, one of the teens’ friends.
“Besides the inexperience, you always have the invincible, nothing bad will happen to me thought process, then you throw on top of that all the distractions that are present for young drivers today that weren’t there 10 to 15 years ago,” said Captain David Bursten, Indiana State Police Pubic Information Officer.
The report revealed a 24 percent increase in 16-year-old driver deaths, and a 15 percent increase in the number of 17-year-old driver deaths. The researcher behind the report blamed several factors including a growing number of distractions.
“We know that teen drivers are persistent in their willingness and eagerness to text while driving,” said Greg Seiter, AAA Spokesman.
Texting while driving is also a big concern for AAA officials who are convinced plenty of teens are doing it even though any teen under the age of 18 is not allowed to use a cellphone behind the wheel.
“It’s important for any parent listening to this, and for any teen driver listening to this, to remember bad things happen to good people, and many times, bad things happen when you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing,” said Captain Bursten.
“It doesn’t appear that they stopped for the flashing red lights. It appears they blew the flashing red lights,” said Nott about the 2012 crash.
The report also revealed that 2012 revealed a two year increase in the number of 16-year-old deaths which had been dropping steadily and sharply in prior years.