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MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2002 Dec 6;51(48):1089-91.

Involvement by young drivers in fatal alcohol-related motor-vehicle crashes--United States, 1982-2001.


Motor-vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for persons aged 16-24 years, and a substantial proportion of these crashes are alcohol-related. Alcohol-impaired driving is highest among persons aged 21-24 years, and the percentage of fatal crashes that are alcohol-related is highest for this age group. However, alcohol-related crashes are a serious problem even for the youngest drivers. Not only are drivers aged <21 years more likely than older drivers to be involved in fatal crashes, but their added risk for fatal crash involvement increases more sharply at all levels of alcohol use. To characterize the rate of alcohol-related fatal crashes among young drivers, CDC analyzed unpublished data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), a national database of information on fatal crashes. The findings indicate that the largest decrease in alcohol-related fatal crashes during 1982-2001 was among drivers aged <21 years, who have been the target of several interventions to reduce alcohol-impaired driving. Public health and traffic safety professionals should ensure that communities implement comprehensive and effective strategies to reduce alcohol-impaired driving.

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