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updated 10/21/2010 12:18:59 PM ET 2010-10-21T16:18:59

U.S. health officials say fatal car crashes involving teen drivers fell by about a third over five years. The number of teen deaths dropped dramatically from about 2,200 in 2004 to 1,400 in 2008.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says several factors might explain how more lives are being saved. Cars are safer and many states have tougher driver's license laws that limit when teens can drive.

The new report looked at accidents with drivers who were 16 or 17. Deaths rates varied widely by state. Wyoming had the highest death rate and New Jersey and New York the lowest. The fatality rate among teen drivers has been dropping since 1996.

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