Teen Drivers

The Facts

How big is the problem?

In 2013, 2,163 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 243,243 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. That means that six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.

Who is most at risk?

The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.

What factors put teen drivers at risk?

· Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.

· Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next). The presence of male teenage passengers increases the likelihood of this risky driving behavior.

How can deaths and injuries resulting from crashes involving teen drivers be prevented?

  • Of the teens (aged 13-20) who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2013 approximately 56% were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Research shows that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.
  • Enforcing minimum legal drinking age laws and zero blood-alcohol tolerance laws for drivers under age 21 are recommended.