23 Feb 2012

Fatal Motor Vehicle Crashes

Author: Blythe | Filed under: Localizing story, Science, Health, Environment

By Blythe Suppes

The overall number of accidents in the nation, including those involving young drivers, has decreased.

In 2010, the amount of fatal traffic accidents in the United States was at a historical low since 1949, while the count in Ohio has increased, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The report showed that Ohio is among the five states that had an increase of 50 or more fatalities from 2009-2010.

The report said the amount of traffic fatalities in Ohio in 2010 was 1,080, which is 58 more fatalities than during the previous year. The national amount in 2010 was 32,885 fatalities.

In the past two years, there has only been one fatal vehicle accident in Bowling Green, Ohio.

While the national traffic fatalities of people older than 55 has increased, there was a 39% decrease in fatal crashes involving young drivers from 2006-2010, according to the report.

Although the overall number of fatalities in accidents involving young drivers is decreasing, various sources agree that car accidents are still the leading cause of death among young drivers, defined in another report from the NHTSA as ages 15-20.

This decrease in fatalities may be caused by many different factors, Lyn Cianflocco of the NHTSA said. Cianflocco said there is really no way of determining what specifically is bringing down these fatality rates.

Minimum drinking age laws, driver’s education courses and graduated licensing are some examples of possible contributing factors.

According to the CQ Researcher, there has been a 70 percent decrease in fatal crashes involving 16 and 17-year-old drivers since 1999 when the graduated driver licensing laws came into effect.

Graduated driver licensing laws limit the driving privileges of 15 and 16-year olds. At 15, drivers can receive a permit, at 16 they are able to get a provisional license and by 17 drivers can have full graduated license privileges, according to the CQ Researcher.

Some people think that the legal driving age is too low and should be raised in order to give young drivers time to mature.

Steve Bidlack, the director at The Mid-Ohio School driving school, said that the driving age should not be raised because teens need the experience. Bidlack said that raising the driving age would not decrease the number of fatal accidents, but rather shift the age group in which these accidents occur.

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