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Today, at the annual conference of the Governors Highway Safety Association in Scottsdale, AZ, there was a call for increased ages for Teenagers driver. The concern was the number of teens who die on the highways. Recent studies have found that car accidents are the number one cause of death in those 20 and younger. In 2002, the state of Minnesota and local hospitals combined data found nearly $11 million in hospital charges for accidents related to 16- and 17-year-old drivers.

Initial reactions ranged from teenagers who are concerned about the loss of freedom and independence that driving gives them, parents who need the extra driving help, and those who believe that they can save lives with changes.

In Minnesota, this year has brought a number of changes for young drivers:

1) Text messaging is now unlawful while driving.

2) No driving for teenagers between 12 pm and 5 am without a passenger 25 or older.

3) A limit of one passenger per trip under the age of 20 in the first 6 months of driving.

Measures such as these may be the compromise that the national group will settle on. Clearly there are enough deaths and injuries to suggest that some changes need to be made.

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