Other Youth Topics


  1. Youth Topics
  2. Prevalence of Crashes, Deaths and Injuries For Youth

Prevalence of Crashes, Deaths and Injuries for Youth

While traffic safety for young drivers in the United States has generally improved over the last decade, recent data suggests a concerning countertrend. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that crash-related deaths among 15- to 20-year-olds decreased every year between 2007 and 2014, an encouraging sign of improvement in traffic safety for young drivers. However, these crash related deaths increased over 9 percent in 2015 and were consistent in 2016. In light of these recent increases, the impact of driving fatalities, injuries, and involvement in crashes for youth continue to be a staggering issue for youth (NHTSA, 2018).

  • Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, accounting for approximately one-third of all teenage deaths (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2015).
  • The number of deaths as a result of motor vehicle crashes for males ages 16-24 was amongst the highest of any age group (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 2017a).
  • 2,150 youth between the ages of 13 to 19 died in vehicle crashes in 2016. Of those killed, 1,207 were driving and 930 were passengers (IIHS, 2017b).
  • Nine percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2016 were young drivers between 15 and 20 years old, yet this age group represented only 5 percent of all licensed drivers (NHTSA, 2018).
  • Fifty-five percent of teens killed while a passenger in a car during 2008 were in a car driven by another teenager and thirteen percent of all passengers of any age were killed when a teen was driving (IIHS, 2017).
  • While young people ages 15-19 represented only 7 percent of the U.S. population in 2013, they accounted for 11 percent ($10 billion) of the total cost of crash-related fatal and non-fatal injuries to motor vehicle occupants for medical care and lost work costs (CDC, 2015).


Parents Are the Key to Safe Teen Drivers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s Parents Are the Key campaign provides resources and information for parents about teen driving and what they can do to help their teen become a safe driver.

Protect the Ones You Love: Child Injuries Are Preventable — Road Traffic Injuries
This CDC initiative was developed to raise parents' awareness about the leading causes of child injury in the United States and how they can be prevented.

Teen Drivers (CDC)
This CDC website provides fact sheets, research and activities, and blogs related to teen driver safety.

Teen Drivers (DOT/NHTSA)
This U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website provides information, talking points, media tools, collateral materials, and various other marketing materials regarding a comprehensive approach to teen driver safety.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017, October 16). Teen Drivers: Get the Facts (Rep.). Retrieved May 30, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/teendrivers_factsheet.html

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. (2017a). Fatality Facts: Older People (Rep.). Retrieved May 30, 2018, from http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/older-drivers/fatalityfacts/older-people/2016

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (2017b). Fatality Facts: Teenagers (Rep.). Retrieved May 30, 2018, from http://www.iihs.org/iihs/topics/t/teenagers/fatalityfacts/teenagers

Murphy, S. L., Xu, J., Kochanek, K. D., Curtin, S. C., & Arias, E. (2017). Deaths: Final data for 2015 (Vol. 66, Rep. No. 6). Hyattsville, MD: National Vital Statistics Reports. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr66/nvsr66_06.pdf

National Center for Statistics and Analysis. (2018, February). Young Drivers: 2016 Data(Traffic Safety Facts. Rep. No. DOT HS 812 498). Washington, DC: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from 2016 YOUNG DRIVERS Traffic Safety Fact Sheet (6).pdf

Tefft, B.C. (2017). Rates of Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age, United States, 2014-2015. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Retrieved from https://aaafoundation.org/rates-motor-vehicle-crashes-injuries-deaths-relation-driver-age-united-states-2014-2015/

Other Resources on this Topic


Technical Assistance

Youth Topics

Youth Briefs

How Individualized Education Program (IEP) Transition Planning Makes a Difference for Youth with Disabilities

Youth who receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and especially young adults of transition age, should be involved in planning for life after high school as early as possible and no later than age 16. Transition services should stem from the individual youth’s needs and strengths, ensuring that planning takes into account his or her interests, preferences, and desires for the future.

Youth Transitioning to Adulthood: How Holding Early Leadership Positions Can Make a Difference

Research links early leadership with increased self-efficacy and suggests that leadership can help youth to develop decision making and interpersonal skills that support successes in the workforce and adulthood. In addition, young leaders tend to be more involved in their communities, and have lower dropout rates than their peers. Youth leaders also show considerable benefits for their communities, providing valuable insight into the needs and interests of young people

How Trained Service Professionals and Self-Advocacy Makes a Difference for Youth with Mental Health, Substance Abuse, or Co-occurring Issues

Statistics reflecting the number of youth suffering from mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring disorders highlight the necessity for schools, families, support staff, and communities to work together to develop targeted, coordinated, and comprehensive transition plans for young people with a history of mental health needs and/or substance abuse.

Young Adults Formerly in Foster Care: Challenges and Solutions

Nearly 30,000 youth aged out of foster care in Fiscal Year 2009, which represents nine percent of the young people involved in the foster care system that year. This transition can be challenging for youth, especially youth who have grown up in the child welfare system.

Coordinating Systems to Support Transition Age Youth with Mental Health Needs

Research has demonstrated that as many as one in five children/youth have a diagnosable mental health disorder. Read about how coordination between public service agencies can improve treatment for these youth.

Civic Engagement Strategies for Transition Age Youth

Civic engagement has the potential to empower young adults, increase their self-determination, and give them the skills and self-confidence they need to enter the workforce. Read about one youth’s experience in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC).