Teen drivers, those between the ages of 15 and 19 in New Mexico, have always been more prone to accidents as they lack experience behind the wheel. However, The Szantho Law Firm reports a decade long trend in reductions in the percentage of crashes involving a teen driver. From a high of 17.7% of collisions in 1999, the number dropped to 12% in 2011. Decreases in the rate of accidents per 1000 licensed teens were also noted.
“There seems to be a correlation between declining rates of accidents involving teen drivers, and steps that the state has taken to emphasize safety among them,” says Andras Szantho, founder of The Szantho Law Firm. “Public awareness campaigns, along with added requirements prior to full licensure, appear to be working as intended.”
The percentage of teenage drivers and their overall percentage of the crash rate were steadily climbing in the late 1990’s. In 1999 the numbers peaked with teenagers comprising 7% of the licensed drivers in the state, but involved in 17.7% of the accidents. That year, 144 of every 1000 teen drivers were involved in a collision. However, by 2011 teenagers comprised only 4% of the state’s licensed drivers, and 12% of total accidents. Similarly the rate of teens involved per 1000 had fallen to a low of 114 after peaking at over 182 in 2004.
While not conclusive, the data points to some measure of success thanks, in part, to the implementation of the Graduated Driver’s Licensing (GDL) requirements in 2000. After the GDL went into effect the percentages of teenage drivers and crashes involving them started to decrease almost immediately. Additionally, as the last of the drivers who would have received licenses prior to enactment of the law aged beyond their teenage years there was a dramatic decrease in the rate of teens involved in accidents per 1000.
“Some may argue that with a declining percentage of New Mexico drivers being between the ages of 15 and 19, that there would be a corresponding drop in the percentage of accidents that are caused by them,” concludes Szantho. “While the data does display this correlation, the true measure of success can be found in the rate of teenagers involved in accidents per 1000. The drop in that number has been significant. In 2004, 182 of every 1000 licensed teens were in an accident. By 2011 that number had dropped to 114. The percentage of teen drivers may be smaller, but they are safer, which is exactly what we like to see.”
The Szantho Law Firm has offices in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico. They handle a variety of personal injury cases, including: bicycle accidents, automobile accidents, slip-and-fall, traumatic brain injury, medical malpractice and more. They can be reached for a free consultation at http://www.szantholaw.com or at (505)-820-3366.
Visit http://www.szantholaw.com for more information.
Name: Andras Szantho
Organization: The Szantho Law Firm
Address: 210 Montezuma Ave. Ste. 200 Santa Fe, NM 87501