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Teen Driver Deaths Jump 19% in 2012

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The number of teenagers who died behind the wheel jumped 19 percent in the first six months of 2012, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA).

That's more than double the increase the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported for overall traffic deaths -- 8 percent.

The GHSA says 240 teen drivers died last year (107 16-year-olds and 133 17-year-olds), up from 202 total a year before.  If the trend is spotted again when the association reviews the second half of the year, it would make 2012 the second straight year with an increase in teen driver deaths.

Experts blame the greater number of fatalities on an improving economy and changes in state laws, which have eased restrictions on younger drivers.

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