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Risk rises if children ride with teenagers

Associated Press
Published March 4, 2008


Car crashes are the leading cause of death for tweens and teens, and a new study outlines some of the most dangerous circumstances: riding unbuckled with new teen drivers on high-speed roads.

These were the three biggest risk factors contributing to car crash deaths for passengers age 8 to 17, the study found.

Researchers in the six-year study examined national data on serious car crashes, including those resulting in death, from 2000 to 2005. During that time, 2.5-million children ages 8 to 17 were involved in crashes and 9,807 died.

More than half - 54 percent - were riding with a teen driver. The risk of death for children riding with drivers age 16 to 19 was at least double that of those riding with drivers age 25 and older. There were about two deaths per 1,000 crashes for young passengers with drivers 25 or older, versus more than four deaths in the younger group.

Also, more than three-quarters of the fatal crashes occurred on roads with speed limits higher than 45 mph, and nearly two-thirds of the young passengers were not wearing seat belts, the researchers found.

Other dangerous circumstances for young passengers included drivers who had been drinking alcohol, male teen drivers and driving on weekends.

The study, conducted with State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., appears in the March edition of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. State Farm funded the research.

[Last modified March 4, 2008, 00:18:19]

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