World's largest killer of teens not what you'd expect
Filed under: Teens
It isn't cancer, AIDS, or any other disease; it isn't drugs; it isn't armed conflict. In fact, the largest killer of young people worldwide are traffic accidents -- 400,000 die each year, while millions more are injured or disabled.
What's worse, is that, according to the World Health Organization, the vast majority of these deaths are preventable. Fatal accidents occur when kids play in the street, young drivers make novice mistakes, or motorists drive while intoxicated. Cyclists, motorcyclists and passengers on public transportation are also especially at risk.
In response, the WHO is suggesting lowering speed limits, a sterner approach to curbing drinking and driving, and stronger enforcement of mandatory seat-belt, child restraint, and motorcycle helmet laws.
Every time a study on teen driving emerges, the numbers are always shocking -- but yet, outside of a few marginal restrictions, it seems we're hesitant to keep them off the roads. The WHO reports notes the problem is especially bad in low-income countries, but over a third of UK traffic deaths and injuries involve drivers under 25, and US studies show that states with stricter regulations do better at keeping their teen drivers alive. What else do we need?