Teen Driver Accident Statistics 

Clipboard Teen Driver Education Facts Statistics

Whether you are a parent or guardian of a teenager or are a teenager yourself trying to learn more now that you have learned how to drive, knowing the statistics surrounding teen driver accidents and keeping yourself educated on the subject is of high importance when it comes to staying safe on the road. 

to be looking at some teen driver accident statistics to help you feel more aware of the most common dangers that teenagers face when they are behind the wheel. We are also going to be looking at what factors put teens at risk and how they can be prevented.

Teen Driver Accident Facts

Let’s begin by looking at some key facts regarding teenage drivers and accidents. 

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States.

  • In 2020, about 2,620 teens in the age group of 16–19 years died in motor vehicle crashes.
  • Teen drivers are at a higher risk of crashing compared to older drivers due to factors such as lack of driving experience and engaging in risky behaviors such as distracted driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk for teen drivers.
  • Distracted driving, such as texting or using a cell phone while driving, is a leading cause of teen motor vehicle crashes.
  • Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs have been shown to reduce teen crashes and fatalities.
  • Teen drivers are more likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors when driving with their peers.
  • Alcohol use continues to be a leading cause of death among teens in motor vehicle crashes.
  • Around 500,000 car crashes in the United States are caused by teens every year. 


Teen Driver Accident Statistics 

Now that we have some of the facts, let’s look at some statistics from 2020 that are related to car accidents among teenage drivers. 

  • In 2020, about 8% of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were between the ages of 16 and 19.
  • Per mile driven, teen drivers are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be involved in a fatal crash.
  • In 2020, there were approximately 127,000 teen drivers involved in police-reported crashes.
  • Among all teens who died in motor vehicle crashes in 2020, nearly half (47%) were passengers in vehicles driven by other teens.
  • In 2020, 21% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.
  • In 2020, about 20% of all teen passenger deaths in motor vehicle crashes occurred in vehicles driven by other teens.
  • In 2020, 21% of male teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding, compared to 9% of female teen drivers.
  • In 2020, about 35% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.


The statistics- and the aforementioned facts- were obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). 

These agencies collect data on motor vehicle crashes, injuries, and fatalities to help understand the impact of these events on public health and safety and to inform the development of policies and programs aimed at reducing crashes and saving lives. 

The data used is the most recent data available, which was published in 2020. The sources for these statistics can be found on the CDC and NHTSA websites.


Risk Factors for Teen Driver Accidents 

Several factors contribute to the increased risk of motor vehicle crashes among teen drivers, including:

  • Lack of driving experience: Teens have limited experience behind the wheel, which can make them more likely to make mistakes and be involved in crashes.
  • Risky behaviors: Teens are more likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors, such as distracted driving, texting while driving, speeding, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Peer pressure: Teens may be more likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors when they are with friends, as peer pressure can be a significant influence.
  • Driving at night: Nighttime driving increases the risk of crashes for all drivers, but is particularly hazardous for teen drivers who have limited experience.
  • Driving in rural areas: The risk of crashes is higher in rural areas, due to factors such as higher speeds and limited access to medical care in the event of a crash.
  • Drowsy driving: Sleep deprivation is a common problem among teens, and can impair their driving abilities.
  • Inexperience with adverse weather conditions: Teens may not have had much experience driving in adverse weather conditions, such as rain, snow, or fog, which can increase the risk of crashes.
  • Lack of seat belt use: Teens are less likely to use seat belts, which can increase their risk of injury or death in the event of a crash.


Preventing Teen Driver Accidents 

A range of strategies be used to try and prevent teen driver accidents, including:

  • Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs: GDL programs aim to gradually increase the privileges and responsibilities of new drivers over time, with the goal of reducing the risk of crashes.
  • Parental involvement: Parents and guardians can play a key role in teaching their teens safe driving habits and monitoring their driving behavior.
  • Driver education courses: Teen drivers who have taken a driver education course are less likely to be involved in a crash.
  • Limiting nighttime driving: Limiting the amount of nighttime driving that teen drivers are allowed to do can reduce the risk of crashes.
  • Prohibiting cell phone use while driving: Allowing teens to use cell phones while driving increases the risk of crashes, so it’s important to prohibit this behavior.
  • Increasing seat belt use: Encouraging teens to always wear seat belts can significantly reduce the risk of injury or death in the event of a crash.
  • Reducing distractions: Distracted driving is a major cause of crashes among teen drivers, so reducing distractions is critical.
  • Addressing drowsy driving: Sleep deprivation is a significant problem among teens, so it’s important to address this issue and ensure that teen drivers get adequate rest.
  • Raising awareness: Raising awareness about the risks associated with teen driving and the importance of safe driving practices can help to reduce crashes and save lives.
  • Software and Technology: Using software and automotive safety features can help reduce risk by allowing for monitoring and limiting various aspects of driving, such as distractions, speeed, geographical range.


Final Thoughts 

Teen driver accidents are a major public health concern, as they result in a significant number of fatalities and injuries each year. Understanding the risk factors for teen driver accidents and implementing strategies to reduce these risks can help to save lives and prevent crashes. 

The statistics on teen driver accidents show that there is still much work to be done to make the roads safer for teen drivers. However, by working together and using evidence-based approaches, we can help to reduce the number of crashes and improve the safety of our roads for everyone.