Facts & Figures

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. [More info.]

Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted. [More info.]

Talking on a cell phone can double the likelihood of a crash and can slow a young driver’s reaction time to that of a 70-year-old. [More info.]

An analysis found that distraction was a factor in nearly 6 out of 10 moderate-to-severe teen crashes, which is four times as many as official estimates based on police reports. [More info.]

Risk is the highest at age 16, when the fatal crash rate is 40% higher than for 18-year-olds and 30% higher than for 19-year-olds. [More info.]

For teenagers, the risk of being in a crash increases when they transport passengers. The fatality risk of drivers ages 16-17 years is 3.6 times higher when they are driving with passengers than when they are driving alone, and the relative risk of a fatal crash increases as the number of passengers increases. Passengers who are age peers may distract the teen drivers and encourage them to take more risks, especially for young males riding with young male drivers. [More info.]

Research has shown that significant reductions in deaths have been associated with GDL laws that included age requirements, a waiting period of at least three months before the intermediate stage, a restriction on nighttime driving, 30 or more hours of supervised driving and a restriction on carrying passengers or the number and age of passengers carried. [More info.]

Speeding is a critical safety issue for teen drivers. There is evidence from studies that show teens’ speeding behavior increases over time, possibly as they gain confidence. Teens should especially be aware of their speed during inclement weather, when they may need to reduce their speed, or with other road conditions, like traffic stops or winding roads. [More info.]

Teens buckle up less frequently than adults do. It’s also impacting their younger passengers: when teens aren’t wearing their seat belts, 90 percent of their young passengers (ages 13-19) who die in crashes also aren’t restrained.  [More info.]