Recently, the Washington-Metro area has witnessed an increase in multiple teen deaths directly related to car accidents. Since the beginning of the year, 45 teenagers died in car accidents, with 15 occurring over the past two months. Montgomery County accidents comprised seven of the recent deaths.
Pam Miller, founder of Safe Neighborhood Day and acting chairman of Montgomery County’s Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee told reporters: "We’ve reached a time in this country when people need to have a sense of control over their own safety. Everyone has had an experience with a traffic safety issue, whether they have been walking or riding in a vehicle," said Miller. "People have a need to get involved with this and want to have a personal stake in the safety of their neighborhoods."
Miller founded Safe Neighborhood Day after her daughter was involved in two car accidents near her Bethesda home.
Excessive speed, failure to wear seat belts, and alcohol were all factors in the recent car accidents. According to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "Crash rates are high largely because of young drivers’ immaturity combined with driving inexperience."
Sean Mullsteff of Damascus was 19 years old when he was killed in a speed-related crash. His parents, Perry and Susan Mullsteff started the Sean Mullsteff Teen Driving Foundation. In an interview, Perry Mullsteff said, "We are trying to educate the community and provide additional options through the foundation that will help them be better prepared."
According to reports, parents have voiced their opinions that the driving age for licenses should be higher, giving teenagers more time to learn the basics of driving and to gain more experience.
Research done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says teenagers account for 14 percent of all car fatalities.