While Massachusetts legislators and driver safety advocates weigh the pros and cons of new laws aimed at older drivers, statistics show that teen drivers are also at high risk for car accidents.
Here in Massachusetts, more 18-year-olds were involved in fatal auto accidents in the past two years than any other single age. In 2008, Massachusetts teen drivers were involved in 22,313 motor vehicle accidents according to data from the Registry of Motor Vehicles. And, according to national statistics, car crashes are the leading cause of death among 15-to-20-year-olds.
The current debate has dredged up bitterness between drivers at both ends of the age spectrum. Last year, drivers age 80 and older accounted for 2% of car crashes. Several recent, highly publicized accidents involving older drivers have caused legislators to reconsider the need for legislation aimed at this demographic.
Lawmakers already enacted legislation in 2007 that inflicted tougher penalties on younger drivers (specifically 16 and 17 year olds), and they say the changes have led to a drop in speeding and reckless driving citations.