Note: The following news item is based on accident records from 2008 to 2011. A report also released this year looked at data from the first half of 2012 and found an alarming rise in teen-driver fatalities. For more information, see the post, "Deaths Surge Among Youngest Drivers."

The number of teen driver-related fatalities has dropped by almost half in the last six years, and the number of teen passengers killed in crashes involving teen drivers fell 30 percent in the United States from 2008 to 2011, a new national safety study reported.

On the other hand, the report on teen drivers found that texting, email, speeding and drinking remain deadly distractions.

The findings, from a joint report by the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and State Farm Insurance, showed positive news in that 54 percent of teen passengers reported that they always used seat belts.

And there were other encouraging trends among teen passengers from 2008 to 2011:

• There was a decline in the risky behaviors of teen passengers, ages 15 to 19.
• The number of teen passengers who were killed in crashes and not wearing seat belts fell 23 percent.
• The number of teen passengers killed in crashes in which a teen driver had been drinking decreased 14 percent.

"When most people think about those affected by teen driver crashes, they think of teens behind the wheel. This report includes encouraging news about teen passengers, who are often left out of the teen driver safety picture," study lead author Dr. Dennis Durbin, co-scientific director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at CHOP, said in a hospital news release.

Source: U.S. News & World Report
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/04/04/fewer-us-teens-dying-in-teen-driver-crashes