Teenage Drivers

Teenage Drivers

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens according to the Centers for Disease Control’s Teen Driver Fact Sheet. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) reports that 1,651 drivers age 16 to 20 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2013, compared with 1,843 drivers in this age group in 2012.

Drivers age 15 to 20 accounted for 9 percent of all the drivers involved in fatal crashes and 13 percent of all the drivers involved in all police-reported crashes in 2012. Twenty-eight percent of teen drivers age 15 to 20 who were killed in 2012 had been drinking some amount of alcohol; 24 percent were alcohol-impaired, which is defined by a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher. The DOT found that more teenagers are involved in motor vehicle crashes late in the day and at night than at other times of the day. Teens also have a greater chance of getting involved in an accident if other teens are present in the vehicle, according to research from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and State Farm.

 

DRIVERS IN MOTOR VEHICLE CRASHES BY AGE, 2013

Age group Number of
licensed drivers
Percent of
total
Drivers in fatal
crashes
Involvement
rate (1)
Drivers in all
crashes
Involvement
rate (1)
16 to 20 12,214,248 5.8% 3,883 31.79 1,259,000 10,311
21 to 24 14,373,838 6.8 4,609 32.07 1,144,000 7,957
25 to 34 36,697,904 17.3 8,762 23.88 2,153,000 5,867
35 to 44 36,018,792 17.0 7,183 19.94 1,663,000 4,617
45 to 54 39,907,125 18.8 7,343 18.40 1,640,000 4,110
55 to 64 36,055,252 17.0 5,911 16.39 1,202,000 3,333
65 to 74 22,534,477 10.6 3,357 14.90 605,000 2,683
Over 74 14,295,739 6.7 2,567 17.96 346,000 2,420
Total 212,159,728 (2) 100.0% 44,574 (2) 21.01 1,0043,000 (2) 4,733

(1) Per 100,000 licensed drivers.
(2) Includes drivers under the age of 16 and of unknown age.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Federal Highway Administration.

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MOTOR VEHICLE DEATHS PER 100,000 PERSONS BY AGE, 2013

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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PERCENT OF ALCOHOL-IMPAIRED DRIVERS INVOLVED IN FATAL CRASHES BY AGE, 2004 AND 2013 (1)

Age 2004 2013 Point change  
16 to 20 18 17 -1 pt.
21 to 24 33 33 0
25 to 34 27 29 2
35 to 44 23 24 1
45 to 54 19 20 1
55 to 64 12 14 2
65 to 74 8 8 0
Over 74 5 5 0

(1) Alcohol-impaired driving crashes are crashes that involve at least one driver or a motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or above, the legal definition of drunk driving.

Source: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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