Teen Traffic Deaths on the Rise

Oregon and Washington Teens Fare Better Than Most.

The most recent study from The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) examined deaths of 16 and 17-year-old drivers, finding an 11 percent increase over the previous year.

By 2012, traffic deaths of 16 and 17-year old drivers spiked 19 percent nationally. Traffic crashes remain the number one cause of death for 15 to 20 year olds in Oregon and across the nation.

These numbers are particularly disturbing since, in previous years, traffic deaths among these age groups were going down. The typical downward trend seen previously was attributed to states implementing graduated licenses.

With teen deaths now on the rise, traffic safety organizations are realizing that graduated licensing can only do so much to prevent these deaths. “What is still desperately needed is extensive driver training, like that which is offered right here in Oregon,” said Elizabeth Taylor, Western Oregon University Lead Trainer of Trainers and Curriculum Manager for ODOT-approved Traffic Safety Education.

Students who take driver education are up to three times less likely to be involved in fatal and injury crashes,” said Josh Szurszewski, owner of Pacific Driver Education, the only Gresham-based driver education company.

Loree Nosack, member of the ODOT Driver Education Advisory Committee and owner of Tom’s Driving Academy continues, “Parents need to understand that getting proper driver training may very well be the best thing they do to make sure their children survive adolescence.”

The Oregon Department of Transportation, in conjunction with Western Oregon University has developed what many educators around the country believe is the best driver training curriculum in the United States. An ODOT-approved course can be found at http://whydrivewithed.com/providers.php and could save a teen’s life.