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Vehicle Crashes Ranked as Leading Cause of Teenage Deaths by CDC

By Jim Greene

on September 07, 2010

For a teenager, a driver’s license represents freedom and independence. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it also represents one of the gravest threats to a teenager’s life. According to an article on the agency’s Web site, one in every three teenage deaths is caused by a motor vehicle crash.

The CDC article that says teenagers aged 16 to 19 are four times more likely to be involved in auto accidents than older drivers, and that an average of nine teenagers in that age bracket died from vehicle crash injuries every day in 2008, the most recent year for which final figures were available. In that year, 3,500 teenagers from the ages of 15 to 19 were killed in vehicle crashes and 350,000 required emergency room treatment.

Crash Danger Greatest in First Year of Driving

Teenagers are most likely to be involved in a crash in their first year of driving, according to the article. Gender is another factor; male teenage drivers are twice as likely to be killed in crashes as females. The presence of other teenagers in a vehicle without adult supervision increases the chance of a crash; the likelihood increases with the number of other teenagers present.

The CDC article listed several risk factors for teenage drivers, including inexperience, risky driving behavior, not wearing seat belts, and driving under the influence of alcohol.

According to the CDC, teenagers’ lack of experience leaves them less able to respond adequately to hazardous or emergency situations than older drivers. Teenagers are more likely to speed than older drivers, and less likely to keep a safe distance from other vehicles. They are also less likely to wear seat belts. Figures show that drinking and driving is more prevalent among teenage drivers than among older drivers, as is the rate of accidents caused by drunk driving.

Cell Phones, Other Devices Add to Distracted Driving Danger

Although not included in the CDC report, distracted driving by teenagers using cell phones and other electronic devices is a concern increasingly expressed by other groups. Teenagers grow up with, and seem inseparable from, such devices, and often lack the experience to realize the danger of distraction caused by the devices.

If your teenager is involved in a motor vehicle crash, contact an experienced accident attorney. The fact that a teenager is involved can often change the way a vehicle crash is treated by insurance companies and in court. An experienced attorney can help you overcome this potential obstacle and increase your chances of receiving fair treatment.

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