In 2006, the most recent year for which data are available, 5,156 teenagers died in motor vehicle crashes in the United States, according to the Department of Transportation.
The number of teen fatalities has continued to trend downward from 9,940 in 1978. But there are still too many.
As the father of three grown sons, I can't begin to imagine the horror and pain of losing a child in a crash the way Veronica and Kevin Moody did.
Their 18-year-old son, Tyler, died in January 2003 when he tried to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone. He was speeding in a curve and lost control of the 1995 Ford Explorer Sport he was driving.
It rolled. The roof collapsed. He was killed.
Tyler Moody was one of 5,718 teenagers who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2003.
In May, the Moodys settled a lawsuit against Ford Motor Co. for an undisclosed amount. The suit charged that the Explorer had insufficient protection against roof collapse, even though Ford said it exceeded federal standards. It was a contentious case.
Initially, in November 2006, a federal court jury in Tulsa, Okla., found in favor of the Moodys and awarded them $15 million. But a judge later threw out the verdict and the award, ruling that Ford didn't get a fair trial because of improper behavior by plaintiff's' counsel. The Moodys and Ford settled the suit only weeks before a new trial was scheduled to start.