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. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,886 drivers age 15 to 20 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2015, compared with 1,723 drivers in this age group in 2014.

Drivers age 15 to 20 accounted for 9 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2015 and 12 percent of all drivers involved in police-reported crashes. In contrast, young drivers accounted for 5.4 percent of total drivers in the United States. The number of drivers age 15 to 20 involved in fatal crashes totaled 4,308 in 2015, down 43 percent from the 7,493 involved in 2006.

Twenty-four percent of drivers age 15 to 20 who were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2015 had been drinking some amount of alcohol; 19 percent were alcohol-impaired, which is defined by a blood alcohol content of 0.08 grams per deciliter or higher.

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, 2015

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 11,814,959 5.4% 4,214 35.86 1,381,000 11,755
21 to 24 14,406,138 6.6 4,942 34.30 1,261,000 8,751
25 to 34 38,385,563 17.6 9,860 25.69 2,435,000 6,343
35 to 44 36,194,823 16.6 7,675 21.20 1,897,000 5,240
45 to 54 39,475,801 18.1 7,852 19.89 1,694,000 4,291
55 to 64 37,715,222 17.3 6,453 17.11 1,366,000 3,622
65 to 74 25,020,638 11.5 3,767 15.06 705,000 2,818
Over 74 15,071,321 6.9 2,723 18.07 378,000 2,505
Total 218,084,465 100.0% 48,613 (2) 22.29 11,251,000 (2) 5,159

(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, 2015

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

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Percent Of Alcohol-Impaired Drivers Involved In Fatal Crashes By Age, 2006 And 2015 (1)

Age 2006 2015 Point change
16 to 20 19% 16% -3 pts.
21 to 24 33 28 -5
25 to 34 29 27 -2
35 to 44 25 23 -2
45 to 54 19 19 0
55 to 64 13 14 1
65 to 74 8 9 1
Over 74 5 6 1

(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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