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Traffic accidents leading cause of death for Wisconsin teens

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in Wisconsin, according to the state's Department of Transportation. The agency's latest statistics show that at least 48 teens have died in the past year on Wisconsin roads. That is a sobering statistic. However, the agency also points out that this number is probably lower than it would be had the state not instituted a graduated driver's license system.

The graduated system was introduced in 2000, and limits the behaviors of drivers before age 18. Younger drivers may have curfews keeping them off roads late at night, when they may be more likely to get into an accident. They also may be limited in the number of passengers they can carry in a car.

The thinking behind this law was to give inexperienced drivers more time to adjust to the rigors of the road before they engage in riskier behavior. The DOT says the system has worked. According to the department, in the first three years after the system was introduced, the number of 16-year-old drivers involved in traffic collisions declined by 15 percent. The number involved in fatal accidents dropped by 18 percent.

Still, there are a great many young people on Wisconsin roads engaging in behavior that endangers themselves and others. It is a tragic thing for a family to lose a young person to a senseless traffic accident, or for a young person to suffer injuries and become permanently disabled due to someone else's careless driving.

Those who have been injured in a car accident can be left with enormous medical costs, lost wages and other damages. When the accident was caused by another driver's negligence, the injured may be entitled to compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. These lawsuits can help an individual or a family cope with the aftermath of a tragic accident and they can hold careless drivers accountable for their actions.

Source: The Badger Herald, "Car accidents are leading cause of death for Wisconsin teens," Madeleine Behr, Oct. 21, 2013

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