Excessive Speed Contributes to Half of Teen Car Crashes

Excessive speed is a factor in 58 percent of automobile crashes involving teenage drivers, according to a report from the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

Researchers studied 61,784 automobile accidents involving Ohio teenagers in 2006 to 2008.
Alcohol was implicated in 784 crashes.
Speed was a factor in 58 percent of the accidents, compared to 40 percent for adult drivers.

A 2008 report to Congress entitled Teen Driver Crashes found that young drivers take greater risks because of their inexperience and immaturity. One such risk is driving at high speeds.

The good news is that the National Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that the number of teenagers who die in automobile crashes is actually going down. 8,700 teens died in auto accidents in 1975, compared to to 4,946 in 2007

Indiana Conference to Address Racial Disparities in Juvenile Justice System

On August 27, the Indiana State Bar Association will host the “Summit on Racial Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System: A Statewide Dialogue”

“Racial imbalance in the juvenile justice system is a complex issue and requires that all major points of contact in the system get actively involved in the Summit’s dialogue,” R. William Jonas Jr., President, Indiana State Bar Association, said in an article about the summit in the Wabash County Journal of Business “There is nothing more important to me, and especially to Indiana’s youth, than the work that law enforcement officers, judges, prosecutors and others are doing to make sure the legal needs of all youth are addressed.”

The summit, which will feature James Bell (founder and executive director of the W. Haywood Burns Institute) will begin at 8 a.m. at the Indiana Government Conference Center.

Students with Disabilities More Likely to Receive Corporal Punishment

Children with disabilities are more likely to be paddled, spanked, or subject to other physical punishment, according to a new study from the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch:

The study found that more than 200,000 school children were subject to corporal punishment in the 2006-2007 school year.
About 19 percent of students who received corporal punishment had disabilities.
Students with disabilities even though they comprise only 14 percent of all students.

Corporal punishment in schools is illegal in 30 states.

Depression Symptoms Found in Children as Young as 3 Years Old

A controversial new study from Washington University in St. Louis concluded that children as young as three years old can experience depression.

Researchers led by Dr. Joan Luby, a psychiatrist, followed more than 200 children ages three to six for two years.
The children took four mental health examinations during the course of the study.
Nearly 20 percent of the study subjects had persistent depression on all four examinations.

Dr. Luby said that depressed children appeared sad even during play times. Their games had themes of death or other sober topics, and they suffered from lack of appetite, sleep problems, and temper tantrums. Some felt overly guilty about small things, such as spilling a glass of water.

Children whose mothers were depressed or who suffered from mood disorders, and children who had experienced trauma, such as the death of a parent, were more likely to be depressed.

Adolescent depression has been linked to a number of troubling statistics, including increased rates of substance abuse, defiance, anxiety, suicidal ideation and poor academic performance.

This study appeared in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Study Explores Effect of Binge Drinking on Brain Function

A study conducted with first-year university students in Spain found that binge-drinking alters a person’s ability to concentrate. A total of 95 students participated in the study, which will appear in the November issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Forty-two students – including 21 females – were classified as binge drinkers. The remaining 53 including 26 females – were identified as ‘control’ students – those who didn’t drink enough to raise concerns. A technique known as event-related potential, or ERP, was used to examine the participants in the study. (Source: The Canadian Press)

The study’s student subjects were asked to complete a particular task, which researchers discovered required more attention on the part of binge-drinkers than on those who didn’t binge. Though the tasks were completed successfully, the study indicates that long-term binge-drinking could cause irreversible harm to a student’s cognitive abilities.