|JOAN LOWY, Associated Press|
Deaths of 16- and 17-year-old drivers in traffic accidents in the first six months of 2012 were up a combined 19 percent over the same period in the previous year, according to the report from the
There were 107 drivers aged 16 who died between January and June of last year, compared to 86 drivers during the first half of 2011.
Deaths of 17-year-old drivers rose from 116 in the first half of 2011 to 133 in the first half of last year.
The report is based on preliminary state data that sometimes changes. The
Twenty-five states reported increases, 17 had decreases, and eight states and the
"Despite our efforts, teens remain our most vulnerable population," said
Deaths of novice drivers dropped dramatically over the past decade at a time when many states were imposing greater restrictions on teen drivers, including limits on driving with teen passengers or driving at night.
There were 435 16-year-old drivers killed in all of 2000. That total dropped to 173 by 2011.
A similar trend occurred with 17-year-old drivers as the number of deaths dropped from 564 to 250 during the same time frame.
"We are still at a much better place than we were 10 or even five years earlier," said researcher
It's difficult to know exactly why teen driving deaths declined so dramatically, or why they now appear to be on an upswing, researchers said.
The long-term decline in teen driver deaths coincided with a historic, although more gradual, decline in traffic fatalities overall. That decline also appears to have been arrested. A report last week by
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