Louisiana bucks trend of national teen driver deaths
Don Ames Reporting
While the number of fatalities of young teen drivers have increased nationwide, Louisiana is one of the few states where that's not the case.
Data from the Governors Highway Safety Association show deaths of 16- and 17-year old drivers increased sharply nationwide in the first six months of 2012, reversing a decade long trend.
But State Highway Safety Commission spokesperson Elaine Rougeau says that's not the case in Louisiana.
"Our numbers, as a whole, did not rise for 16- to 17-year old drivers between January and June, from 2011 until 2012."
"Our numbers pretty much remained the same," said Rougeau.
Data compiled from L-S-U's Highway Safety Research Group show there was not a large difference in the number of deaths during the first six months of 2012, compared to the first six months of 2011 in Louisiana.
"There were four drivers, aged 16, who died between January and June of last year, and five drivers during the first half of 2011," Rougeau says. "Deaths of 17-year-old drivers increased by one."
Complete 2012 data will be released later this year.
Rougeau says they work hard at educating young drivers about safety, the dangers of the road and not driving distracted.
"For our state, the data seems to indicate that these efforts are paying off."
Rougeau says they are pleased that Louisiana is not in line with national statistics, but there's still more work to be done to educate young drivers.
"Despite the fact that we're still at a much better place than we were ten, or even five, years ago...we realize that just one death is one too many."