Adolescent Mortality from Traffic and Firearm Injuries
The two leading mechanisms of injury death among adolescents are motor vehicle traffic and firearms. In 2006, 4,814 adolescents aged 15 to 19 years were killed by motor vehicle traffic. Most of those were either involved as driver or passenger in the vehicle, while the remaining deaths occurred among pedestrians, motorcyclists, and pedal cyclists. The 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed that 11.1 percent of high school students had rarely or never worn seat belts when riding in a car driven by someone else. Additionally, 29.1 percent of students had ridden at least once in the 30 days preceding the survey with a driver who had been drinking (data not shown).
Firearms were the second leading mechanism of injury death among adolescents in 2006. Overall, 2,809 adolescents were killed by firearms, representing a rate of 13.2 per 100,000 adolescents. Of these, homicide accounted for 70 percent and suicide accounted for 25 percent; the remainder were unintentional or of unknown intent. The 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicated that 5.2 percent of high school students carried a gun at least once in the month preceding the survey.