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DOT: Top cause of deaths among teens is traffic crashes

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The number one cause of death for Wisconsin teens is still traffic crashes.

That's according to the state DOT, which is promoting safer driving for young people in advance of Teen Driver Safety Week next week. 

48 teenagers were killed in Wisconsin crashes last year -- and over 5,000 young people were injured.

David Pabst, who heads the DOT's Bureau of Transportation Safety, said the grim numbers reflect the inexperience of teen drivers -- and their willingness to ignore state laws against things like texting behind the wheel. 

Speeding and a lack of seat belt use are other factors. 

Nationally, Pabst says teen drivers are four times more likely than the rest of us to get in a crash.

16-year-olds are twice as likely to crash at night than during the day. And the risk of teen mishaps grows when other teens are in the vehicle -- something the state limits with its graduated licensing law.