In Motor Vehicle Accidents, Teen Passengers Face Higher Death Risk: New Study | DC Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog

Teenage passengers involved in an automobile accident are more likely to die than other passengers in the same circumstances — particularly if the driver is young and inexperienced.  The finding is the result of new research published in a recent edition of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Researchers conducting this latest study evaluated more than 45,000 automobile accidents which occurred between 2000 and 2005, and that involved passengers between the ages of 8 and 17.  Their results demonstrate that up until age 12, the number of deaths per year of age is nearly identical year after year.  Between the ages of 12 and 14, however, the number of deaths per year of age rises dramatically — and that rise continues all the way through the teens.

Among those deaths, more than 54% of the teens were determined to have been riding with a driver under the age of 20. Almost two-thirds of those were not wearing seat belts. More than three-quarters of the crashes occurred on roads with speed limits above 45 mph.  Researchers also noted that alcohol was a factor in almost a quarter of the fatal crashes.

Authors of the study note that graduated driving laws are one of the most effective ways to reduce these adolescent fatalities, and recommend that parents require their children to use seat belts whenever riding in or driving a vehicle.  They also advise that kids should avoid riding with especially young drivers, particularly on high-speed roads.

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