According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), during 2015, 2,333 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 235,845 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. That means that six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.
The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-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 2016, the motor vehicle death rate for male drivers and passengers ages 16 to 19 was 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 licensure. The fatal crash rate per mile driven is nearly twice as high for 16-17 year olds as compared to 18-19 year olds.
Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations. Teens are also more likely than adults to make critical decision errors that lead to serious crashes.
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.
The following info-graphic from the AAA Foundation identifies the risk factors for 16 and 17-year-old drivers when there are passengers younger than 21 years old in the vehicle and how that risk factor decreases when there is someone older than 35 years.