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Teen driver involvement in fatal car crashes declining

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October 22, 2010—The number of fatal crashes involving 16- and 17-year-old drivers has decreased by 36 percent from 2004 to 2008, according to a report release_notesd Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The decline is part of an overall national downward trend, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Since 1996 teen driver fatal crashes has declined by 50 percent. However, car accidents still remain the leading cause of death for teens in the United States.

The report also found that from 2004 to 2008:
• 11,019 people died in car accidents involving teen drivers;
• 4,071 of those who died were the teen drivers themselves;
• 65 percent of those teen drivers who died were males;
• 35 percent of those teen drivers who died were females;
• The number of fatal accidents ranges widely from state to state.

“These trends show both how much progress we have made—and how much more we can make—to reduce motor vehicle crashes,” says Thomas Frieden, CDC director. "This is a call to action to teen drivers, parents and communities. It's not right that teens would lose their lives on U.S. roads when there are proven methods for helping teens be safer drivers."

One of the methods attributed to this decline is graduated licensing programs, which are used in 49 states. The second best method is parental involvement.

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