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Teen Driver Facts

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and disability among teens across the nation.

Parental Involvement

  • Parents who set rules, offer support and monitor their teen's driving can reduce their teen's crash risk by as much as 50 percent.
  • Fifty-six percent of teens rely on their parents to learn how to drive.
  • Teens report that parents influence their driving behaviors more than anyone else.


  • The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than any other age group.
  • Teens are at the highest risk of being involved in a car crash during their first 12 to 24 months of driving.
  • Crash risk increases incrementally with each mile per hour driven over the speed limit.
  • The presence of even one teen passenger can nearly double a teen's risk of being involved in a fatal crash.


  • Teen drivers aged 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers aged 20 years and older.
  • The top three predictors for fatalities are: 1) non-use of seat belts; 2) teen drivers; and 3) driving on roads with speed limits of 45 mph or higher.
  • Fifty-five percent of the deaths of teenage passengers occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager.

Seat Belts

  • Compared with other age groups, teens have among the lowest rates of seat belt use.
  • Only 61 percent of high school students report they always wear seat belts when riding with someone else.
  • Only 65 percent of teens consistently wear seat belts when driving or as a passenger.

Distraction | Cell Phone Use

  • People talking and texting while driving are as impaired as when driving under the influence of alcohol.
  • Ninety percent of teens consider passenger behavior to be a distraction to the driver.
  • Nine out of 10 teens reported it was common to see teens driving while talking on a cell phone.


  • Nearly half of teens have witnessed passengers encouraging drivers to speed.
  • Half of teen drivers admit to having driven 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.

Substance Abuse

  • Teens are less likely than adults to drive after drinking alcohol, but their crash risk is substantially higher when they do. About one in five fatally injured teen drivers have blood alcohol content at or above the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
  • Fifty-three percent of teens saw substance use behind the wheel at least sometimes.


  1. AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
  2. American Association of Pediatrics
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  4. Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  5. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
  6. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
  7. National Safety Council
  8. University of Utah