The number of car accident deaths involving teenaged drivers dropped from 2,200 in 2004 to 1,400 in 2008, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There was also a drop in the number of non-fatal car wrecks involving teenagers.

What has attributed to this drop in serious car crashes? I wish I could say our teenaged drivers discovered a newfound sense of responsibility and caution while behind the wheel, but it appears stricter driving laws are largely behind the decline in car crash deaths.

Many states have implemented “graduated license” programs where teenagers can get their license at 16, but have certain restrictions like a curfew of 9 p.m. and having only one other teenager in the car while they are driving, according to the Associated Press.

In Virginia (VA), if you are under the age of 18, you can have only one passenger under the age of 18 during the first year that you hold your driver’s license. After holding a license for one year, you can carry only three passengers under age 18. Violations of the passenger restrictions can result in the suspension of your driver’s license.

Unfortunately, even with the recent decline, the No.1 cause of death for teenagers is car accidents. This means we still have a lot of work to do. Yes, a drop from 2,200 deaths to 1,400 deaths is an improvement, but 1,400 young lives lost in 2008 is still far too high a number.

We need to remember that when a teenager is killed in a car crash, numerous lives are affected. Parents and siblings are crushed with the loss of a loved one, schools struggle with the noticeable void of a classmate. Losing a teenager in a car wreck can have far-reaching emotional and psychological implications.