Menu
Basic Facts About Teen Crashes
teen crash statistics

Teen Crash Statistics

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death and disability to teens in the U.S. According to research conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 16- to 17-year old drivers are nine times more likely to be involved in a crash than adults and six times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults. In 2015 1,886 young drivers ages 15 to 20 years old died in motor vehicle crashes, an increase of 9 percent from 2014.  In addition, an estimated 195,000 teen drivers were injured in motor vehicle crashes in 2015, an increase of 14 percent from 2014. These crash statistics do not include deaths and injuries to passengers of teen drivers, those in other cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Despite these dire statistics, teen crashes can be prevented with plenty of quality parent supervised driving practice to help teenagers gain experience in a variety of driving environments and to develop the critical driving skills they need. Most teen driver crashes are due to three “critical errors:” lack of scanning, speeding, and distractions.  

Teen drivers are also more likely to crash if impaired, using a cell phone, or with peer passengers. Parents can help teens manage these crash risks by setting and enforcing house rules to keep them safe. These rules should include seat belt use on every ride, every time, and limiting nighttime driving and peer passengers until the first full year of independent driving.

Statistics

Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens. In 2015, six teens died every day from injuries suffered during MVCs.

Facts and Statistics on Teen Crashes

  • The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-to 19-year-olds than among any other age group.

  • The overwhelming majority (75 percent) of serious teen driver crashes are due to "critical errors," with the three common errors accounting for nearly half of these crashes: lack of scanning that is needed to detect and respond to hazards, going too fast for road conditions, and being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle.

  • 12 states (AZ, CA, VA, MA, NV, IL, NJ, MN, GA, FL, VT, and MO) reduced their teen driver-related fatality rates by more than 50 percent between 2005-2006 and 2009-2010.

  • The majority of newly licensed teen drivers exit the learner’s permit period with significant skill deficits, leading to a much higher risk of crashing compared with more experienced drivers. The most common types of crashes involve left turns, rear-end events, and running off the road.

Pick Your Practice

With a couple of clicks, think about what skills you would like to practice first as a learner driver, and we’ll point you to videos and tips on how to practice them. Take this online driving quiz to Pick Your Practice!

Take Quiz