How Safe Are Young Drivers?
In addition to the disproportionate “harm” that 16- to 20-year-old drivers experience from motor vehicle crashes, consider the following additional “costs” for young drivers and passengers:
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young adults ages 16 to 20.
- Young adults between the ages of 16 and 20 are more likely to be killed and injured in motor vehicle crashes than children and youth from birth to age 15. In 2002, of the 7,410 children, youth, and young adults from birth through age 20 who were killed in motor vehicle crashes, 76 percent were 16 to 20 years old; of the 729,207 injured from birth to age 20, 65 percent were 16- to 20-year-olds.See Chart 8.
- Although young drivers made up approximately 7 percent of the total licensed driving population, in 2002, 15 percent (3,448) of all the drivers involved in fatal crashes were young drivers 15 to 20 years old, and 16 percent (310,000) of all the drivers injured in police-reported crashes were young drivers.
- During 2002, a young person died in a traffic crash an average of once every hour on weekends (weekends are defined as 6 p.m. on Friday through 5:59 a.m. on Monday) and nearly once every 2 hours during the week.
- Young adults who are 16 to 20 years old are most likely to be killed or injured when riding in passenger vehicles (as opposed to other motor vehicles).
- In 2002, a total of 1,915 16- to 20-year-olds were killed when totally or partially ejected from a passenger vehicle.