BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A report from a national road safety group highlights what could be a troubling trend among young drivers. There’s an increase in fatalities among 16 and 17-year-old drivers after several years of declines.

Tim Williams has more.

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At 16 years old, Drew Gebing of Westminster is taking his third and final driving lesson before taking his state test.

“It’s a little bit harder than I thought,” Gebing said. “It’s easier after a while, but yeah, I was nervous at first.”

Nerves and mistakes may be factors contributing to an increase in driving deaths among young teens during the first six months of 2011.

“Preliminary data released this week by the governor’s Highway Association indicates that after eight consecutive years of a downward trend in the number of driving fatalities involving 16 and 17-year-olds, we actually saw a slight increase. Actually, an 11 percent increase,” said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

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Nationally, there were 211 deaths between January and June of last year. There were fewer than 190 the year before.

“Your parents care very much about you and they don’t want you to be one of these statistics. And the statistics are real. They happen for a reason,” said driving instructor Joan Meyers.

At Elite Driving School in Owings Mills where Meyers teaches, the challenges facing new drivers are identified and solutions addressed.

“Search, evaluate and execute. It’s where you have to look far ahead for a problem and then decide what you need to do,” Meyers said.

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Driving experts stress that safety restrictions enforced by parents are as effective as any driving laws instituted by the state.

Tim Williams