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New Numbers Show Increased Risks with Teen Drivers

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Two recent government studies provide more concerns about teen drivers.

The American Automobile Association Foundation for Traffic Safety released a study that showed that the risk of a fatal crash multiplies when teen drivers have other teenagers in the car. The numbers are startling as the risk increases by almost half when a 16- or 17-year-old driver has one teenage passenger. It doubles with two teen passengers and it quadruples with three or more young passengers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year questioned more than 15,000 public and private high school students across the country and found that about 58 percent of high school seniors said they had texted or emailed while driving during the previous month. About 43 percent of high school juniors acknowledged they did the same thing.

It is good to see that the Minnesota Legislature did look at both of these issues during the past couple of years by passing laws that limit the number of teen passengers and also outlawing driving and texting. Unfortunately, that may not be enough. Clearly there are enough deaths and injuries to suggest that some changes need to be made.