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North Carolina tragedy highlights dangers of teen drivers

It's a little more than an hour's drive northeast of Charlotte to get to the small North Carolina town of Advance. The community is grieving the recent tragic loss of three teenagers killed in a car accident. The 16-year-old boy who was driving tried to pass a pick-up truck on a Davie County road, but crashed into an SUV coming from the opposite direction.

All three teens inside the vehicle were pronounced dead at the scene of the violent collision. Though several news stories about the crash noted the deep sorrow in the boys' hometown, they failed to mention the driver of the SUV. We were able to track down a bit of information on him, however: he was hospitalized with unspecified injuries.

It is certainly understandable that people would mourn the loss of three teens and that news outlets would focus on the grief. Nonetheless, there is no reason to ignore the victim in the crash.

“If you’re going to have an early, untimely death, the most dangerous two years of your life are between 16 and 17," said a researcher in a New York Times interview last year. "And the reason for that is driving.” She added that cars are today safer than ever and roads are safer now than in the past -- but teen drivers are as dangerous as ever.

The Times reported that in 2013 AAA reported that just under a million teen drivers were in police-reported accidents. The crashes resulted in more than 370,000 injuries and 2,927 deaths. On an average day, six teenagers die from injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Hopefully, parents and teens alike can add a silver lining to the tragedy in Advance and ensure that teenage drivers slow down and drive carefully so that can everyone can get home safely.

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