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Eleven teens die in two accidents across the country on the same day

Teens often make mistakes. One of the strongest arguments for the strict enforcement of graduated driving license is presented by the two accidents this Sunday that left 11 teens dead in two SUV accidents, separated by more than a thousand miles, but connected by a pervasive sense of tragedy. In Dumas, Texas, five teenagers died when the SUV they were in ran a red light and struck a gas tanker truck, causing both vehicles to burst into flames. The truck driver was airlifted to a burn unit in critical condition with his injuries.

Early Sunday morning in Ohio, eight teens in an SUV, travelling at a "high-rate of speed," crashed into a guardrail on a stretch of road known as "dead man's curve," flipped over into water and only two of the eight escaped the car accident. It is unclear what they were doing in the vehicle that early in the morning.

Similarly, it is unclear why the teen driver of the SUV in the Dumas crash went through the stop sign. Was he distracted by a text message? Was he sending a text or talking on the phone? Or was he simply distracted by his four passengers and the moments inattention, perhaps a less than a second, cost him and the other four teens their lives.

Car accidents have long been a leading killer of teens, because being young and healthy, they face few other risks. While highway fatalities have been decreasing, especially after the 2008 recession, the sad fact remains that we kill over 30,000 people every year on the highways of this country. And every one of them is someone's child, mother, father, husband, wife, brother or sister.

Source: CNN, "Teen tragedy: 5 die in fiery collision with tanker truck in Texas," Ben Brumfield, March 11, 2013

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