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Deaths seen in teens

During 1999--2006, unintentional injuries, with a rate of 23.5 deaths per 100,000 population, were the leading cause of death for youths aged 12--19 years; 73% of deaths from unintentional injuries were motor vehicle related. 

Homicide (6.6 deaths per 100,000) and suicide (5.5 deaths per 100,000) were the second and third leading causes, followed by cancer (3.2 deaths per 100,000), heart disease (1.5 deaths per 100,000), and congenital anomalies (1.1 deaths per 100,000).

Source: Miniño AM. Mortality among teenagers aged 12--19 years: United States, 1999--2006. (NCHS data brief, no 37. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics; 2010.)

Twenty-eight percent (28%) of 15- to 20-year-old drivers who were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2005 had been drinking.

For young drivers (15-20 years old), alcohol involvement is higher among males than among females. In 2005, 24% of the young male drivers involved in fatal crashes had contributory BACs at the time of the crash, compared with 12% of the young female drivers involved in fatal crashes.

Drivers are less likely to use seat belts when they have been drinking. In 2005, 64% of the young drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes who had been drinking were unrestrained. Of the young drivers who had been drinking and were killed in crashes, 74% were unrestrained.

It is estimated that 24,560 lives have been saved by minimum drinking age laws since 1975. In 2005, an estimated 906 lives were saved by minimum drinking age laws. 

During the last 30 days, 28.5% of high school students nationwide had ridden one or more times in a car or other vehicle driven by someone who had been drinking alcohol. [1]

In 2005, 39% of fatal crashes (all age groups) involved alcohol. The rate of alcohol involvement in fatal crashes is more than three times higher at night than during the day (59% vs. 18%).

In 2005, 30% of all fatal crashes (all age groups) during the week were alcohol-related, compared to 52% on weekends.


[1] “Quick Stats: Death Rates For Leading Causes* Among Youths Aged 12—19 Years---National Vital Statistics System, United States, 1999—2006.” MMWR. June 25, 2010 / 59(24);p752.

[2] SADD report

* Causes of death are coded according to the International Classification of Disease, 10 Revision (ICD-10).



  • Ajax the Great 5 years ago

    The part about 906 lives in 2005 saved by the 21 drinking age is junk. It is based on a few years in the 1980s extrapolated to the present, without controlling for key confounding factors. Canada saw the same or faster decline in alcohol-related traffic deaths, without raising the drinking age to 21.

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