With millions of inexperienced teen drivers on the road, collisions and accidents are inevitable. In fact, teen driving statistics show that the second leading cause of death for teens in the US is motor vehicle crashes.
Moreover, there are many factors leading to these crashes. The primary ones are driver distraction and inexperience.
However, they can be reduced by improving the quality of the education that the new drivers are receiving from home, schools, and other institutions.
Here are some facts and statistics that show just how much we need to work on this issue.
Quick Teen Driving Facts (Editor’s Pick)
- Every year, teens account for around 500,000 car crashes in the US
- In 2019, over four in ten fatal teen crashes happened 9 pm–6 am
- Young drivers are responsible for about five in ten car crashes caused by drowsiness
- In 2019, around 7% of all car crash fatalities were teenagers
- Over 2,350 teens died in car crashes in 2019
- More than 66% of teen motor vehicle crash fatalities were male in 2019
- Over 55% of teenage drivers admit to talking on the phone while driving
- In 2019, 17% of fatal accidents in teens aged 16–17 involved drinking alcohol
Teenage Drivers Accidents Statistics
1. Teenagers are responsible for 500,000 car crashes in the US annually.
All in all, there are six million car crashes in the United States every year, and even though no exact numbers are provided, according to estimation, teenagers are responsible for around 500,000 of them.
What’s even more disturbing, most of the fatal teen car crashes occur within six months after getting a license, based on teenage crash statistics.
2. In 2019, 52% of fatal motor vehicle crashes that included teens occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
More than half of all car crashes that have teenage fatalities occur during the weekend. That is probably due to the fact that then, they are most likely to consume alcohol and get behind the wheel.
3. More than 40% of fatal crashes involving teens occurred between 9 pm and 6 am in 2019.
So, teen driving statistics imply that four in ten fatal teen crashes happened at night. This is why 40 US states have decided to restrict night driving for novice drivers. You can see the list of states with these restrictions here.
4. As per a study, 87% of teens and young adults use a seat belt in the front seat.
Teen drivers appear to be careless with one of the essential aspects of road safety — seat belts. In comparison, adults tend to be more careful. Namely, 90% or over of people aged 25+ wear a seat belt when in the front seat.
5. Teenage crash rates increase with the number of teen passengers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the crash risk for teenage drivers increases with the number of teenage or young adult passengers. That’s why the restrictions for driving passengers for beginners should be supported.
6. Teens are less likely to recognize hazardous situations.
Young drivers are more likely to develop reckless and risky driving habits, leading to an increased likelihood of violations and accidents, according to CDC. Disregarding the basic driving safety facts and principles is common in their first months on the road.
7. Young drivers account for over 50% of car crashes caused by drowsiness.
That’s maybe because a lot of teenagers and young adults don’t get the recommended 8–10 hours of sleep per night.
Even though 49 states limit nighttime driving for teens, around 60% of fatal nighttime vehicle crashes caused by drivers 16–17 happen between the hours of 9 pm and midnight.
8. Statistics of teenage accidents in Nevada note that there were 161 teen vehicle crashes in Nevada in 2019.
That’s alarming, especially when learning that the total number of vehicle accidents was 330 that year. Moreover, 10.9% of fatalities in Clark County are caused by young drivers. According to officials, poor safety at school zones and crosswalks is the primary reason for these crashes.
Deadly Teenage Drivers Accidents
9. For 16-19-year-olds, the fatal crash risk per mile driven is three times higher than drivers aged 20+.
As a matter of fact, the chances of motor vehicle accidents are the highest in this age group, compared to all the other ones. Moreover, teenagers most at risk of these crashes are newly licensed males and those driving with other teens or young adults as passengers.
The car accident statistics by age from 2020 haven’t come up yet, so hopefully, they will show some improvements, and this tendency will soon change.
10. In 2019, male drivers aged 16-19 were twice more likely to die in a car accident than females of the same age.
They were also more prone to engage in dangerous behaviors. Some of them were speeding, not wearing a seat belt, and driving after drinking alcohol, as male teen driving facts show.
That said, it is always important to know what to do after an accident, so make sure you read the whole separate article we have prepared about that.
11. Days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest for teen drivers.
There are 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day, and this seems to be the period with the most teen crashes and car crash fatalities. In fact, over 140 people lost their lives in accidents involving teenage drivers during that period in the last decade.
Now let’s see what percentage of fatal accidents are caused by teenage drivers.
12. Around 7% of all road casualties were teenagers in 2019.
More specifically, passenger vehicle occupants accounted for 78% of teen crash fatalities. Furthermore, 9% were pedestrians, 7% were motorcyclists, and 2% were bicyclists and riders of all-terrain vehicles each.
To make matters worse, in 2020, 5,213 people died due to accidents caused by young drivers between the ages of 15 and 20, according to some Bumper teenage driving statistics for 2020.
13. 31% of male drivers between the ages of 15 and 21 involved in fatal accidents were speeding in 2019.
At the same time, the percentage of female teenagers involved in these accidents in that year was 17%. So, it’s obvious that this demographic needs to learn more about road safety. This is a responsibility that should be shared by parents, educators, and car manufacturers alike.
14. 2,375 teenagers lost their lives in car crashes back in 2019.
According to car accident statistics by age for 2019, 1,995 of those aged 16-19 were killed in car crashes across the US during 2019. Moreover, the highest number of teen crash fatalities (682) occurred to teens aged 19.
15. In 2019, nearly 50% of car crash fatalities among those aged 16–19 occurred because they were unrestrained.
One of the most devastating information about fatal teen crashes is that most of them are preventable by people simply putting on seat belts. Out of all age groups, teenagers and young adults have the lowest rates of using seat belts.
Furthermore, drivers stats point out that 43.1% of high school students in the US didn’t always wear a seat belt when in a car driven by someone else in 2019.
16. Two out of every three teenage motor vehicle crash fatalities were male in 2019.
The majority of teenagers that die in car accidents are males. So, we can clearly see which gender is more careful behind the wheel.
Even though the numbers are still high, teenage car accidents statistics confirm that car crash deaths among teens are down by 73% compared to 1975, when safety standards were basically nonexistent.
Since 1975, there has been a 64% reduction in female teen fatalities. At the same time, there has been a 76% decrease in the number of male teen fatalities.
17. In the UK, young male drivers are responsible for 80% of young driver deaths, as per teen crashes statistics.
In the UK, every fifth driver gets into a car accident during their first year of driving. On top of that, young male British drivers are four times more likely to die or be severely injured while driving compared to drivers aged 25 or over.
18. There were 248 young driver (17–24) road traffic fatalities in the UK in 2019.
(Department for Transport)
Based on teenage driving accidents statistics, that represented a decrease of 31 deaths from the year before. Moreover, approximately 88 young car drivers died, compared to 55 young car passengers that year. Regarding young pedestrians, the number of fatalities was 39.
19. Three in ten teen driver fatalities occur during the summer.
(Fox 13 News)
So, summer is increasingly dangerous for young and inexperienced drivers. That’s probably because more teens are on the road during that period; they don’t have school and engage in riskier behavior.
Statistics of Teenage Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol
20. 17% of fatal accidents among teens aged 16–17 involved drinking alcohol in 2019.
Over 15% of all fatal crashes that took the lives of teenagers involve alcohol. Even though they are under the legal drinking age limit, alcohol is one of the most common causes of car crash fatalities in this age group.
In other words, 50 out of the 295 drivers in that age group who died that year lost their lives due to drinking and driving.
21. In 2019, almost a quarter of drivers 15–20 who lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents had been drinking.
In fact, teenage car accident statistics from 2019 show that 15% of those drivers had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher. Let’s not forget that that level is illegal for people aged 21 or over in the US.
22. 19% of fatally injured male passenger vehicle drivers aged 16–17 had a BAC at or above 0.08% in 2019.
Once again, male teenage drivers seem to be more reckless. In addition, teen driving statistics disclose that approximately 23% of fatally injured male passenger vehicle drivers aged 18–19 had a BAC at or above 0.08% in 2019.
23. 13% of fatally injured female passenger vehicle drivers aged 16–17 had a BAC at or above 0.08% in 2019.
Even though females under the age of 21 are less likely to drink and drive, a few definitely have that tendency. Furthermore, approximately 17% of fatally injured female passenger vehicle drivers aged 18–19 had a BAC at or above 0.08% in 2019.
Statistics on Teen Drivers: Cell Phones and Driving
24. 48% of those aged 12-17 have been in a car with a driver that was texting.
Almost half of pre-teens and teens have been in a car with a driver that prioritized texting over his and his passengers’ safety. Furthermore, 63% of young drivers have been witnesses to their parents texting or talking on the phone when driving.
25. 56% of teen drivers admit to talking on the phone while driving.
When it comes to teens and their phone addiction, teen driver accidents surveys find that over 55% of them can’t seem to shake it while driving and admit to talking on the phone while being behind the wheel.
26. In 2019, 39% of high school students who had driven in the past 30 days admitted texting and driving.
In fact, they had done so on at least one of those days. Moreover, emailing or texting while behind the wheel was more common among older students.
Additionally, teen driving facts verify that some other dangerous behaviors among this population included riding with a drunk driver, driving after drinking alcohol, and not wearing a seat belt.
27. According to a study, a teenager using a phone has the same reaction time as a 70-yer-old who isn’t using one.
The University of Utah confirmed this data through its study. That said, senior drivers are the least likely to use a phone while driving.
Moreover, the minimum amount of attention a driver needs to text is five seconds, which is the same as driving past a whole football field with your eyes off the road.
Teen Driver Facts: Car Insurance for Teenagers, Is it Worth it?
Car insurance is a necessity, and that should be clearer than ever after reading through the data listed above.
Teenagers are a liability every time they get into a car, so the question shouldn’t be whether to get car insurance but rather what insurance company to choose.
Teenagers who own cars and have their own insurance policies will have to pay an insurance premium for that privilege. Due to their age and the many teen driver accidents, high-risk auto insurance can not be avoided for teenagers.
In addition, parents who decide to add their teen to an already existing insurance policy will also see a pricing increase, and they should look into the best and cheapest car insurance coverages. Fortunately, we have prepared an article on that, too.
Even though we have yet to see the teenage driving statistics for 2021, the ones listed above are a cause for concern. Young drivers across the US and around the world are safer every day, mostly due to the car industry tech boom that we’ve been witnessing for the last few years.
Despite cars being able to brake and stay in lane for us, the basics need to be covered — don’t drink and drive, don’t text while driving, and fasten your seat belt. Drive safely!
People Also Ask
As we have seen from the data above, teenagers represent a big road hazard. Out of the total number of fatal car crashes, approximately 7% were teenagers in 2019.
In detail, almost 80% of teen fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants that year. Moreover, 2% were bicyclists and riders of all-terrain vehicles each, 7% were motorcyclists, and 9% were pedestrians.
Drivers under 21, or between the ages of 15 and 20, to be more specific, are referred to as young drivers. According to the last data, in 2019, there were 12 million young drivers. That translates to 5.3% of all licensed drivers in that year.
Unfortunately, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for this population. Namely, there were 1,603 such fatalities in traffic crashes in 2019.
Even though it’s a popular belief that teenagers can’t wait to go behind the wheel, data shows that the percentage of teens driving has been decreasing throughout the years.
According to the latest data, somewhere around 49% of 17-year-olds are licensed drivers. In addition, more than a quarter (25.6%) of those aged 16 can drive. As for 18-year-olds, about 60.9% are licensed drivers.
Older teens account for the highest number of car crashes. In fact, they are teenagers aged 16–19, and they have the highest risk of car accidents out of all age groups.
In other words, teen driving statistics show that per mile driven, teen drivers aged 16–19 are almost three times more likely than those aged 20 or over to have a fatal accident while driving.