What is Causing So Many Teen Traffic Deaths? (VIDEO)

By Eric DeFreeuw

February 27, 2013 Updated Feb 28, 2013 at 12:36 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (www.incnow.tv) – When it comes to traffic deaths, Indiana teens have one of the highest death rates in the country. But what is causing this trend? Some of the Indiana State Police’s findings may surprise you.

The easy culprit to blame for the high number of teen deaths is texting and driving. But Sgt. Ron Galaviz with the Indiana State Police says that’s not the only factor these days.

He points to driver inexperience as a common reason, which he describes as unfamiliarity with both the road and the vehicle they are driving. This includes accidents caused by speeding, following too close behind other drivers, or failure to brake appropriately.

Naturally, some factors causing car accidents with adults is also exhibited by teenagers. This would include poor weather conditions, pulling out in front of other drivers, or obstacles like debris or animals on the road. But Sgt. Galaviz says parents themselves could also be to blame for teens developing bad driving habits.

"Those kids are really starting to learn to drive as soon as they are forward-facing in their car seat in the back seat. So when they see Mom or Dad or Grandma or Grandpa or whoever, you know, getting on the gas for a yellow light, or running a red light, changing lanes without a turn signal, exhibiting - you know yelling at other cars you know, road rage type of thing. (Or) Not wearing your seatbelt. They perceive that as the proper way to operate a motor vehicle."

One of the lesser-known factors of traffic fatalities could also be the economy.

Galaviz explains when the economy is good, gas prices are down. When gas prices are down more drivers are on the road. And more drivers means the probability of accidents rises as well.

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