Know the Facts About Teen Driver Fatalities
• Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens (15-18 years old) in the United States, ahead of all other types of injury, disease, or violence.
• In 2017, there were 2,247 people killed in crashes involving a teen driver (15-18 years old), of which 755 deaths were the teen driver — a 3% decrease from 2016.
• Parents can be the biggest influencers on teens’ choices behind the wheel if they take the time to talk with their teens about some of the biggest driving risks, including:
- Impaired Driving: All teens are too young to legally buy, possess, or consume alcohol. However, nationally in 2017, of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes, 15% had alcohol in their system. But alcohol isn’t the only substance that can keep your teen from driving safely: In 2017, 6.5% of adolescents 12 to 17 years old were marijuana users.
- Seat Belts: Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways for teens to stay safe in a vehicle. There were 539 passengers killed in passenger vehicles driven by teen drivers, and more than half (60%) of those passengers who died were NOT buckled up at the time of the fatal crash. Even more troubling, when the teen driver was unbuckled, 87% of the passengers killed were also unbuckled.
- Distracted Driving: Distractions while driving are more than just risky — they can be deadly. In 2017, among teen drivers involved in fatal crashes, 9% were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. This age group (15-18) also has the largest percentage of drivers who were distracted at the time of a crash.
- Speeding: In 2017, more than one-quarter (27%) of all teen drivers of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash, and males were more likely to be involved in fatal speeding-related crashes than females.
- Passengers: Teen drivers transporting passengers can lead to disastrous consequences. Research shows that the risk of a fatal crash goes up dramatically in direct relation to the number of passengers in a car. The likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behavior triples when traveling with multiple passengers.
*Statistics from the NDDOT 2018 Crash Summary Report
*Information is from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration