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 1,875 drivers in this age group died and 184,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes 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, 2011

Age group Number of licensed drivers Percent of total Drivers in fatal crashes Involvement rate (1) Drivers in all crashes Involvement rate (1)
Under 16 361,046 0.2% 115 NA 16,000 NA
16 to 20 12,280,859 5.8 4,292 34.95 1,219,000 9,923
21 to 24 14,265,636 6.7 4,465 31.30 1,050,000 7,361
25 to 34 36,892,373 17.4 8,517 23.09 1,944,000 5,269
35 to 44 36,938,903 17.4 7,058 19.11 1,734,000 4,695
45 to 54 41,172,350 19.4 7,493 18.20 1,501,000 3,645
55 to 64 35,397,534 16.7 5,542 15.66 1,106,000 3,123
65 to 74 20,511,896 9.7 2,947 14.37 506,000 2,465
Over 74 14,054,051 6.6 2,522 17.95 314,000 2,234
Total 211,874,649 100.0% 43,668 (2) 20.61 9,390,000 (2) 4,432

(1) Per 100,000 licensed drivers.
(2) Includes drivers of unknown age.

NA=Not applicable.

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, 2012

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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PERCENT OF ALCOHOL-IMPAIRED DRIVERS INVOLVED IN FATAL CRASHES BY AGE, 2003 AND 2012 (1)

Age   2003 2012 Point change  
16 to 20   19 18 -1 pt.
21 to 24   32 32 0
25 to 34   27 29 2
35 to 44   24 25 1
45 to 54   19 21 2
55 to 64   11 14 3
65 to 74   8 9 1
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 (BAC) 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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