When a person turns 16 they are often very excited to get their driver’s license but it is probably safe to say that most parents are nervous about this milestone. Although they may relish their child being able to drive themselves to school and activities, they are nervous about their teen being hurt in an accident. Parents have good reason to worry as the car crash injury and fatality statistics among teen drivers are staggering. In fact, car crashes are the number one cause of death among teens in the U.S. and the top three predictors for fatality in a car accident are not wearing seat belts, teen drivers and roads with speed limits of 45 miles per hour or higher. Parents can influence their teen’s driving behavior; 56 percent of teens are taught to drive by their parents and 66 percent of teens say they listen to their parents’ opinion on using a cell phone while driving.

Teen Car Crash Statistics

  • The fatality rate for drivers aged 16 to 19 is four times higher than that of drivers aged 25 to 69 years
  • The crash fatality rate (crash fatalities per 100,000 population) is highest for 16 to 17 year olds within the first six months after getting their license and remains a high risk through age 24
  • Approximately two-thirds of teen passenger deaths (ages 13 to 19) occur when other teenagers are driving
  • In 2008, 2,739 teenagers died in car accidents in the United States
  • Males are twice as likely as females to be killed in a car crash as a teenager
  • Thirty-seven percent of male drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 were speeding at the time of a fatal crash
  • Teen drivers were involved in 63% of teen passenger deaths and 19% of passenger deaths of all ages in fatal accidents.
  • In the first year of driving after receiving their license, teen drivers are almost 10 times more likely to be in a crash than at any other time
  • Twenty percent of 11th graders report being in a crash as a driver in the past year
  • Twenty-five percent of 9th graders already report being in a crash as a passenger in their lifetimes

Top Causes of Teen Driving Crashes and Fatalities


  • Ninety percent of teens involved in fatal car crashes have other teen passengers in their vehicle to distract them
  • Data on 16-year-old drivers shows that having multiple teenage passengers in the vehicle is twice as likely to cause a fatal crash as alcohol-impaired driving


  • Nearly half of teens report seeing passengers encouraging drivers to speed at least sometimes
  • Half of teen drivers report driving 10 miles per hour over the speed limit at least sometimes
  • The crash risk increases incrementally with each mile per hour over the speed limit

Cell Phones

  • Nine out of 10 teens say that it is common to see teens driving while talking on a cell phone

Seat Belts

  • Teens have the lowest seat belt use rates of any age group
  • Only 65 percent of teens consistently wear their seat belts as both a driver and passenger
  • Six out of 10 drivers aged 16 to 20 who were killed in crashes were not wearing their seat belt
  • Almost two out of three teens killed as passengers are not wearing their seat belt

Drunk Driving

  • Teens are statistically less likely than adults to get behind the wheel after drinking, but when they do; their risk of crashing is much higher when you add in other teen risk factors
  • Fifty-three percent of teens have seen other teens drinking and driving at some point
  • Thirty-one percent of teens who died in a car crash were drinking alcohol

Day of the week and time of day matters

  • Fifty-three percent of teen deaths in fatal accidents happened on the weekends and 41 percent occurred overnight between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m.

If you or a loved one were injured in an accident, you have enough to deal with. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!

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