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CDC Calls for Tighter Restrictions on Teen Nighttime Driving

Midnight cut-off is too late to help; 10 p.m. would prevent more injuries

FRIDAY, July 29, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Getting U.S. teens out of the driver’s seat before midnight would reduce their risk of fatal crashes, according to research published in the July 29 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

According to the newly reported 2009 to 2014 statistics, 31 percent of drivers aged 16 and 17 in fatal crashes had them between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. And almost three out of five of these collisions (57 percent) occurred between 9 p.m. and midnight.

While 49 states restrict nighttime driving as part of a graduated licensing program, 23 prohibit driving only after midnight — well past the time most teens are off the road, the CDC reported.

“Restrictions that start at 12 a.m. or later aren’t really protective,” lead author Ruth Shults, Ph.D., M.P.H., a senior epidemiologist in the division of unintentional injury prevention at the CDC, told HealthDay. They “aren’t providing protection for the majority of teen drivers who are out at night. The research to date suggests that [restriction starting at] 10 p.m. or earlier definitely saves lives and reduces injury.”

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