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Teenager-involved road deaths climbed 10 percent in 2015, according to a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

{mosads}Although there has been significant progress in reducing traffic crashes and deaths involving teens over the past 10 years, teen drivers are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than adults, the GHSA said.

The GHSA findings also show that older teen drivers, aged 18 to 20, are more likely to be involved in deadly crashes than younger teens.

The report, which was funded by a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund, comes as traffic deaths overall appear to be on the rise. A total of 35,092 people died on U.S. roads last year, for a 7.2 percent increase from the previous year.

“This report drives home the message that there is still much to do to reduce teen driver fatal crashes and the resulting deaths,” said Jonathan Adkins, executive director for the GHSA, who oversaw development of the report.

“The increase in teen driver fatal crashes is concerning, and states are keeping a watchful eye to see if this is the start of a reversal in the gains we’ve made over the past decade.”

The overall spike in traffic deaths has been attributed to an improving economy, lower fuel prices and more drivers on the road.

But safety advocates have also pointed to the increase of distracted driving and cellphone use behind the wheel, especially among younger generations.

All 50 states have graduated driver licensing for teenagers, which is a three-stage system that has been shown to reduce the risk of teen-involved crashes by as much as 30 percent.

But drivers age out of the three-stage requirements at age 18, and data show that one-third of teenagers don’t get their license by that time.

“That means that once they do obtain a drivers license, they’re not reaping the benefits of graduated driver licensing,” said teen driving expert Pam Fischer.

The GHSA is urging states to expand graduated driver licensing to include all drivers under 21 years old, along with implementing more training for older teen drivers, high visibility enforcement and safe driving programs at colleges.


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