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.]

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.]

The per mile crash rate for teenage drivers is three times higher after 9:00 pm than during the day. This is because the task of driving at night is more difficult, teens have less experience driving at night than during the day, teens are more sleep deprived, and/or because teenage recreational driving, which often involves alcohol, is more likely to occur at night. [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 suggests that the most comprehensive graduated drivers licensing (GDL) programs are associated with reductions of 38% and 40% in fatal and injury crashes, respectively, among 16-year-old drivers. [More info.]

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. [More info.]

Observed seat belt use among teens and young adults (16 to 24 years old) in 2008 was the lowest of any age group at 80 percent. In fatal motor-vehicle crashes, the majority of teens (16 to 20 years old) continue to be unbuckled (56% in 2009). [More info.]