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Teen drivers at higher risk of being in a fatal car accident

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A car accident is among one of the most common causes of fatalities. Every year, even with adequate safety measures employed by Virginia law enforcement authorities, the number of automobile accidents continues to climb. Statistically speaking, the largest demographic sector at risk may be American teenagers, because motor vehicle crashes result in the largest number of fatalities for drivers in those ranks.

The numbers are somewhat alarming, with almost 2,700 deaths from fatal car accidents among 16 to 19-year-olds occurring in just 2011 alone. Paired with the fact that nearly 300,000 in the same age bracket received emergency care following a car accident, ensuring the safety of teenage drivers may be the most important driving issue in Virginia today.

According to studies, teens aged 16 to 19 have the greatest risk of being involved in an accident. When weighing all the age groups and all the factors that affect accidents, teen drivers within that age group are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than those who are ages 20 years or older.

Studies also have shown that subgroups within this age bracket are at an even higher risk of being involved in a deadly car accident. Teen males are twice as likely as females to be in a fatal crash and the likelihood of such an incident also increases when the number of teenage passengers in the vehicle increases. Additionally, newly licensed teen drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident within their first month of being granted a license.

Speeding and drinking seem to be a common factor behind fatal crashes involving individuals within the 15 to 20-year-old age group, with more than one-third of cases attributed to excessive speed and a quarter of all cases attributed to drinking and driving.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Teen Drivers: Get the Facts," accessed Dec. 11, 2014

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