Facts

Click on topics below to see what teen drivers are saying about this very important driving subjects:

 

Accidents   

 
  •  In their first year on the road, teens are almost 10 times more likely to be in a crash.
  •  20% of 16-year-old drivers has an accident within their first year of driving.
  •  25% of 9th graders report being in a crash as a passenger in their lifetime.
  •  Crash risk increases with each mile per hour over the speed limit.
  •  In the US, 1 in 4 crashes involve someone 16-24 years old, nearly twice as high as other age groups.
  •  33% of deaths among 13 to 19-year-olds in 2010 occurred in motor vehicle crashes.
  •  16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age.
  • More than 40% of teen auto deaths occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

 

 

Speeding

 
  •  50% of teens report seeing passengers encouraging drivers to speed at least sometimes.
  •  50% of teen drivers report driving 10  MPH over the speed limit at least sometimes.

 

 

Distractions   

 
  • While teenagers are texting, they spend about 10% of the time outside the driving lane they’re supposed to be in.
  • Talking on a cell phone while driving can make a young driver’s reaction time as slow as that of a 70 year old.
  • 56% of teens said they talk on the phone while driving.
  • Answering a text takes away your attention for about five seconds. That is enough time to travel the length of a football field.
 

Seat Belt Use

 
  •  Teens have the lowest seatbelt use rates of any age group.
  •  Only 65% of teens consistently wear their seatbelts as both a driver and a passenger.
  •  Six out of ten drivers age 16 to 20 who were harmed in an accident were not wearing seatbelts.
  •  Almost 2 out of 3 teens killed as occupants of motor vehicles are unrestrained.
 

What Can I Do?

 

Be Involved!

Learning to drive is an exciting time in your child’s life and a special time for you and your teen to reconnect and even bond. As an involved parent, you can share the gift of smart driving skills that will protect and change your teen’s life. You’ll also value the opportunity to help your child achieve an important developmental milestone. Best of all: Your teen will savor the independence gained with your respect and love.

To your teen, driving represents freedom and an important step toward adulthood. Your job is to help your child understand that earning the keys is a privilege and a great responsibility. Focus on safety rather than control. This can be accomplished by getting the conversation started early, setting driving rules together, and then enforcing them.

Rules can feel like “too much parental control” to teens, so let them know that your house rules are for their safety. Explain that limits are in place to help them through the most dangerous driving phase: the first 6 to 12 months after receiving their full license and that new privileges will be granted as time on the road (experience) is gained.

In addition to being hands-on driving teachers, parents need to continue monitoring their teens’ driving activities well after they begin driving alone. Ask where they’re going, who they’ll be with, and when they’ll be home. Don’t expect them to tell you everything that happens on the road. (That’s what they tell their friends.) If you’re involved and supportive while teaching them to drive, they’ll be more likely to share this information with you. Close monitoring shows you care and reduces crash risk.

The following crash factors described on the pages below can affect teen drivers. But your involvement can and will make a difference.

- See more here.

 

Who is Most At Risk?

 

The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 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.

Among teen drivers, those at especially high risk for motor vehicle crashes are:

  • Males: In 2011, the motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 was almost two times that of their female counterparts.
  • Teens driving with teen passengers: The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk of unsupervised teen drivers. This risk increases with the number of teen passengers.
  • Newly licensed teens: Crash risk is particularly high during the first months of having their license. 
 

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.
  • Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes in 2012, 37% were speeding at the time of the crash
 

Where Can I Find More Information?

 
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Fatality facts: teenagers 2012. Arlington (VA): The Institute; 2012 [cited 2014 Sept 29].  Click Here for Report
  • Chen L, Baker SP, Braver ER, Li G. Carrying passengers as a risk factor for crashes fatal to 16- and 17-year old drivers. JAMA 2000;283(12):1578–82. Click Here for Report
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Dept. of Transportation (US). Traffic safety facts 2012: Speeding. Washington (DC): NHTSA; May 2014 [cited 2014 Sept 29]. Click Here for Report