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March 7, 2005

Deadly Teen Auto Crashes Show a Pattern

Topics: Health Issues

Although this March 1 USA Today article is a few days old, it's important enough to make sure that everyone that has teenage children has an opportunity to read it and to be sure that their children do also.

It was a double date like countless others: Two teenage girls and their teenage boyfriends, with plans to see a movie on a summer night.

But this one ended in grief. Sixteen-year-old Gerald Miller swerved his sport-utility vehicle to miss a car stalled on Interstate 95. The SUV, traveling about 78 mph, rolled five times. The boys were injured. The girls -- Casey Hersch, 16, and Lauren Gorham, 15 -- were thrown from the SUV and died.

To many who knew the victims, the crash seemed like a cruel act of fate, a freak tragedy beyond anyone's control. But it fit a common formula for teen deaths on the USA's roadways: Put a 16-year-old boy at the wheel of an SUV. Add two or three teens, including at least one other boy. Send them out at night. Finally, let them travel fast -- and unbelted.

Those common factors emerged when USA TODAY examined all the deadly crashes involving 16-to-19-year-old drivers in 2003. About 3,500 teenagers died in teen-driven vehicles in the USA that year -- a death toll that tops that of any disease or injury for teens. The South proved to be the deadliest region.

Posted by Hyscience at March 7, 2005 7:57 PM

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