Teen Driving Kills Faster Than Gun Violence, Suicide

Car crash

A wave of teen driving deaths this week has brought attention back to the fact that car accidents kill more teenagers in the US each year than any other cause of death.

As The Inquisitr previously reported, five teenagers died in a crash with a tanker truck in Texas this weekend, the same day that six teenagers died after flipping an SUV over a guard rail in Ohio. Four teenagers died in Illinois the next day when a vehicle flipped over a guard rail into a nearby creek, drowning those inside.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that motor vehicle accidents remain the largest killer of teenage youth. Teen drivers aged 16 – 19 are three times more likely to die in a fatal crash than drivers 20-years-old and older. Around 2,700 teens aged 16 – 19 died in motor vehicle accidents in 2010, while nearly 282,000 sustained injuries.

Motor vehicle deaths kill faster than gun violence, a subject that has flooded national discourse in the wake of gun tragedies in Arizona, Colorado, and Connecticut over the past two years. Car crashes have also resulted in more teenage deaths than suicide, another highly-visible threat that has entered the national spotlight after several high profile suicides took place in response to bullying.

In 2010, 3,115 teenagers aged 13 – 19 died in motor vehicle crashes, compared to 1,927 who were murdered and the 1,863 who committed suicide. Homicides and suicides combined resulted in more teenage deaths than motor vehicles, a shift from years prior.

In 2006, 5,159 teenagers aged 13 – 19 died in crashes, more than the 2,443 who were murdered and the 1,718 who committed suicide combined.

The number of teenage deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents has dropped by over half since the late 1970s, where just under 10,000 teenagers died in accidents each year.

Twice as many teenage males died in motor vehicle crashes than females in 2010. Among males, speeding and drinking were the two largest causes of fatal crashes. Teenagers also wear seat belts less often than other age groups, with only 54 percent of high school students reporting that they always wear a seat belt when riding with someone else. Over half of all teen deaths from fatal crashes occur on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Gun violence and suicide are no less threatening to teenagers because of the prevalence of teen driving deaths, but parents are wise to remember what is at stake every time they hand their teens the keys or trust them to ride home with a friend.

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