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ADOLESCENT DEATHS DUE TO INJURY

The two leading causes of death due to injuries among adolescents are motor vehicle crashes and firearms. In 2002, motor vehicle traffic caused the deaths of 5,522 adolescents 15-19 years of age. The vast majority of those killed were in motor vehicle accidents either as a passenger or driver. Deaths of pedestrians, motorcyclists, and others accounted for the remainder of motor vehicle mortality among adolescents.

Results of the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that 18.2 percent of high school students had rarely or never worn seat belts when riding in a car driven by someone else. Additionally, 30.2 percent of students had ridden on one or more occasions with a driver who had been drinking alcohol in the 30 days preceding the survey.

In 2002, 2,474 adolescents ages 15-19 were killed by firearms. Of these, homicide accounted for 63 percent of firearm deaths, suicide accounted for 30 percent, and 4 percent were considered to be unintentional.

Graph: Traffic and Firearm Mortality Among Adolescents[d]