Monday, October 25, 2010

Crashes Remain Leading Cause of Death for Teenagers

The number of fatal crashes involving 16- and 17-year old drivers dropped by more than a third between 2004 and 2008, but this doesn't mean that parents and teens should be satisfied with the progress, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Crashes still remain the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, though most are preventable, the report says. Graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs, which help new drivers gain skills under low-risk conditions, are widely credited with contributing to the drop in deadly crashes involving teens, it says.

The report shows wide variations from state to state, with teens in some states more likely than teens in others to be involved in fatal crashes.

Nationally, the number of 16- and 17-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes decreased by 36 percent, from 2,230 in 2004 to 1,437 in 2008, said the study in CDC's "Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report."

The overall decline in young drivers' fatal crash involvement is an extension of a longer-term downward trend. Rates of fatal crash involvement for 16- and 17-year-old drivers have fallen by more than 50 percent since 1996 (from 36 per 100,000 persons in 1996 to 16.7 per 100,000 in 2008). Despite this downward trend, young drivers' fatal crash rates are still high in some areas of the country.

Read the complete CDC press release about the study.

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