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).
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.
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.
This CDC website provides fact sheets, research and activities, and blogs related to teen driver safety.
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 from2016 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/