Auto accidents remain the number one killer of American teenaters, a recent report has found. According to the report, nearly as many passengers as drivers are killed in these accidents. More teens die in these incidents than under other occasions such as homicide or suicide.
This discovery is troubling to anyone who takes Washingtonians’ safety seriously. After all, kids are dying because they are taking part in activities while behind the wheel that should not be part of their routines.
The report produced by the General Motors Foundation known as “Teens in Cars” shows that in 2012, 2,439 teens died in car accidents. At least 44 percent of the victims were passengers. In half of the deadly cases, victims had not buckled up prior to the collision.
The report failed to note whether some or most of these accidents had been caused by distracted driving. Whether related to phone use or another type of distraction. Still, 40 percent of teens answered a survey saying they had been present in cars driven by other teens that had been using their phones to text or call while behind the wheel. More than 50 percent of teens said that they had been in cars with adult drivers being distracted.
Another ten percent of respondents claimed that they had been in cars driven by drunk or intoxicated teens.
In the same year, 1,927 teens in America died in homicides and 1,863 of them lost their lives to suicide. Those numbers are still lower than the total of teens who died in auto accidents, 2,439.
While the number is still high and concerning, especially because newer vehicles have a series of important safety features to help mitigate this problem, the number is dropping.
According to the study, the number of teens dying in crashes dropped 56 percent from 2002, which was when the record number of teen deaths was reported.
While we are glad to see the number is dropping, thousands are still dying across the country, and hundreds across the state. We must do more to both teach our children to avoid these accidents and to make sure they are aware of the risks associated with distracted driving.
For more on this report, please follow this link.