CDC study finds young drivers are more at risk

On behalf of Law Office of Matthew Vance, P.C. posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reinforced what many people already believed: Young drivers are not the safest drivers. In fact, it is much worse: Drivers between the ages of 15 and 24 are part of the demographic that is most likely to become a fatal statistic.

The research was published earlier this month in an issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Data showed that there were 34,485 fatalities caused by car accidents throughout the nation, with young people between the ages of 15 and 24 accounting for 22 percent of those deaths.

Researchers reviewed fatal crashes in 50 of the nation's largest metropolitan areas in 2009. The rate of motor vehicle fatalities for these areas was 8.2 deaths per 100,000. This was almost three points lower than the national average of 11.1 people per 100,000.

Using the data from the study, the CDC determined that young drivers experienced a heightened rate of fatality, at 10.9 deaths per 100,000 people. Causes were not examined in the study, but experts believe that young people are more likely to engage in higher-risk behavior. These could include driving with multiple people in the car, texting while driving and speeding.

To combat this, many states have begun using a graduated driver licensing program that gives new drivers more freedom as they become more experienced. Another study found that such programs cut the risk of a car crash for 16-year-old drivers by almost 16 percent. New Mexico has such a program.

Parents also need to play an important role. Parents could be held liable in a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit if a child is driving unsafely and causes an accident.

Source: CBS News, "CDC: Fatal car crash risk highest among young drivers," Ryan Jaslow, July 20, 2012