Health officials have found that about 7,500 teenagers and young adults in the United States between the ages of 15 and 24 are killed in fatal vehicle accidents each year – the highest levels of these deaths occurring in the Southeast, UPI.com reported.

Released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the figures showed a decline in overall vehicle crashes in recent years.  However, the researchers said that motor vehicles still remain one of the leading causes of death.

According to UPI.com, the CDC collected data from the National Vital Statistics System and the U.S. Census Bureau for 2009.  Of the 50 most populous metropolitan areas, there was a total of 34,485 deaths cause motor vehicle crashes – 22 percent of those deaths being teens and young adults.

For those aged 15-24, the lowest rate of vehicle deaths occurred in the New York City area – 7.3 out of 100,000 residents, and the highest rate of 25.8 per 100,000 occurred in Birmingham Ala.

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