Posted On: January 8, 2007 by Christopher T. Hurley

Teenage Drivers and Safety

The Chicago Tribune has posted a series of articles on the problems associated with teen drivers. Among the key findings noted in their research:

Teen crashes kill more than 8,000 people and injure more than 700,000 others annually in the U.S., costing $40 billion in property damage, medical costs and lost wages every year.

Research shows a previously unsuspected biological makeover--a massive growth of synaptic links between brain cells--that helps explain why teens are more prone to crash than older drivers.

Speed is a common factor in at least 40 percent of teen-related crashes in the Chicago area and nationally. Alcohol is less of a factor, and accounts for less than 25 percent of all teen crash fatalities.

Only about 47 percent of teen passengers wear seat belts when another teen is behind the wheel, compared to almost 84 percent of the overall population. And, of the 5,135 drivers and passengers ages 15 to 20 killed in crashes in 2004, almost two-thirds of them were not buckled up.

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