A study by Safe Kids Worldwide, sponsored by General Motors, has found that more young people in the US die from motor vehicle collisions than any other cause.
The group's research has shown that around 2500 young people die as a result of collisions each year in the US, with drivers (56 percent) and passengers (44 percent) almost equally represented.
The study was based on a survey of 1000 teenagers aged between 13 and 19, with a considerable number of respondents admitting that they do not wear a seatbelt.
A quarter of those surveyed said they did not wear a seatbelt during every journey, despite half admitting they had been in a car with a teenage driver and felt unsafe.
The report also found that in half of the fatal collisions considered, the young person killed was not wearing a seatbelt.
Safe Kids Worldwide believes that educating young people about the importance of wearing seatbelts would now become a key focus moving forward.
The report found a ‘follow-on’ effect from those who admitted they did not wear a seatbelt, with 73 percent saying they also send text messages while driving, compared with 52 percent of those who buckle up.
A separate study in the US found a young driver was eight times more likely to have a collision or a ‘near miss’ while using their mobile phones behind the wheel.
Mobile phone use among teenagers while driving in Australia is less prevalent, although a recent RAC survey of 700 teenagers in Western Australia found 43 percent read or send text messages while driving, and a further 20 percent check social media behind the wheel.
The 17-25 years age-group is widely shown to account for 25 percent of Australia’s road fatalities, while making up just 15 percent of licence holders.
However, this group has shown the greatest decline in road deaths over the last decade, trending downwards at around 8.2 percent per year.
The General Motors Foundation contributed $2 million to Safe Kids Worldwide to conduct the survey in the US.