What is the Leading Cause of Death for Teens in the U.S.?

August 20, 2014

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. Here are some additional facts on fatal motor vehicle accidents for teens:

  • Seven teens die every day from traffic accidents.
  • For 16 to 19-year-olds, 2,700 died and 282,000 were injured in 2010.
  • Although 15 to 24-year-olds account for 14 percent of the U.S. population, they represent 58 percent of the total costs of injuries from motor vehicle crashes.

Interestingly, there are ways of reducing the number of teen fatalities and injuries. Teens that have gone through graduated drivers licensing (GDL) programs have seen a 38 percent decrease in teen fatalities and 40 percent decrease in injuries.

What Are Graduated Drivers Licensing Programs?

The CDC says, “Graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems are designed to delay full licensure while allowing teens to get their initial driving experience under low-risk conditions.”   In Florida, there are three stages to the GDL program. For each stage the teen driver is expected to meet certain expectations before progressing to the next one.

The three stages are there to ease a new teen driver into more difficult situations while driving. Below are the stages:

  1. Learner’s license
    1. Must be 15-years-old.
    2. Must hold license for 12 months and must be accompanied by an adult at all times.
  2. Operator’s license
    1. Must be 16 to 17-years-old.
    2. Have learner’s license for 12 months without any traffic convictions.
    3. Have 50 hours of behind the wheel experience.
    4. Perform behind the wheel test with a driver license examiner.
  3. Full License
    1. Must be 18-years-old.

Source: http://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/Teen_Drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html

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