It’s fairly common knowledge that car accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers. It should also be noted, however, that car accident are the leading cause of fatal brain injuries among teens, too.
According to research released in a report conducted by a children’s hospital and State Farm Insurance, 30 percent of 55,000 teenagers injured in car accidents in 2009 and 2010 suffered acute head injuries. Those apparently included traumatic brain injuries, concussions and skull fractures.
According to Forbes, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that car accidents are the leading cause of TBI deaths for 15 to 19-year-olds. That’s despite the fact that teen deaths in car crashes have declined over the last six years.
Unfortunately, the brain has a hard time healing compared to much of the body, says the lead author of the research. That means treatment after an injury can only go so far. Therefore, preventing injuries in the first place is key.
A director of technology research at State Farm says that seat belt laws are extremely important in preventing teen crash injuries and deaths. Even more, initiatives that are teen-focused may help the problem, he says.
Data also shows that states with graduated licensing programs are keeping down the number of crash-related injuries and deaths among teens. Six states with the most comprehensive programs saw teen fatality rates at less than 10 per 100,000 teenagers. That’s the lowest rate in the nation, so there is something to that.
Source: Forbes, “Car crashes are the leading cause of fatal head trauma among teens,” Jim Gorzelany, April 2, 2012