ATLANTA, July 20 (UPI) -- About 7,500 U.S. teens and young adults ages 15-24 are killed in vehicle crashes each year, with the highest levels in the Southeast, officials say.
Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said although the rates of U.S. vehicle crashes declined in recent years, motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death.
The CDC used data from the National Vital Statistics System and the U.S. Census Bureau for 2009 for the 50 most populous U.S. metropolitan statistical areas, and found a total of 34,485 motor vehicle crash deaths -- 22 percent of those killed were ages 15-24.
Motor vehicle crash rates ranged from a low of 4.4 per 100,000 residents in Cleveland to a high of 17.8 per 100,000 in Memphis, the study said.
For teens and young adults ages 15-24 years, the motor vehicle crash death rate was 13 per 100,000 residents for all metropolitan statistical areas combined, with a low of 7.3 per 100,000 for the New York City area and a high of 25.8 per 100,000 for Birmingham, Ala.
The findings were published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.