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With fewer teens looking for licenses, are the roads any safer?

If asked to identify the primary concerns of most 15-17-year olds, most people would list getting good grades, participating in extracurricular activities, hanging out with friends, picking a good college and, of course, getting a driver's license.

While these are all good -- and largely accurate -- guesses, it's important to note that getting a driver's license has recently suffered a rather serious popularity plunge. 

In fact, the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute determined that while nearly 50 percent of all 16-year-olds in the U.S. had a driver's license roughly 30 years ago, this number fell to just 28 percent in 2010 and is showing no signs of rebounding.

While the reasons for this declining interest in driver's licenses among teens remains something of a mystery, some have theorized that it can perhaps be attributed to modern technology. Specifically, thanks to smartphones, tablet computers, laptops and wireless Internet, teens are already connected to the world and therefore don't require the autonomy offered by a driver's license.

Interestingly enough, there are some arguing that this phenomenon might not be the worst thing, as it might actually serve to make the roads a safer place.

Here, they point to studies like the one recently conducted by AAA, in which researchers examined videos of 1,700 car crashes involving teen drivers and determined that distracted driving -- primarily in the form of using a smartphone -- played a role in almost two-thirds of them.  

They also point to a finding by the U of M's Transportation Research Institute, which found that car accidents are still the number one cause of death among U.S. teens.

While it's true that fewer teens out driving could serve to make things safer, this is perhaps not a real solution. Indeed, it could be argued that the best way to really reduce the number of distracted driving fatalities among teens is to improve education initiatives such that the dangers of this practice are imparted to them as soon as possible, laying the foundation for safe driving habits.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

If you or a loved one has suffered serious personal injuries in a car wreck caused by the recklessness of another, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your options for securing justice.

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