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According to a recent Centers for Disease Control report, car crashes are the leading cause of teenage deaths in the U.S. Overall, more than 16,000 teenagers die each year, and while that accounts for less than 1 percent of the total number of deaths each year, more than a third of fatalities in this age group are caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Furthermore, male teens are more likely to die than female teenagers and older teenagers are at a higher risk of dying than younger teenagers. Other causes of death in the report include other types of accidents, homicide, suicide, cancer and heart disease. According to the lead researcher, teenage mortality is an important public health issue, particularly because it receives so little attention, but also because most causes of teenage death are preventable.

When comparing the results of the national study to those of Michigan, results are comparable. Specifically, in 2005-2006, more than half of the 3,320 deaths of children under 19 years old died of preventable causes. Motor vehicle fatalities made up the majority of those deaths and were primarily a result of speeding, use of drugs or alcohol, driver inexperience, and recklessness. Thankfully, initiatives like the new texting and banning law will greatly improve teenagers’ health and safety while on the roads—for the first time and throughout the rest of their lives.

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