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30 Teen Driving Statistics and Safe Driving Facts

Car crashes are the second leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S. today. There are a number of different factors that contribute to teen crash rates — driver inexperience, distractions, and drinking and driving to name a few.

Keeping young drivers and other passengers on the road safe should be a priority for all of us. Below, we’ve gathered a list of teen driving statistics laying out the risks as well as steps teens and parents can take to avoid crashes. We also ran two surveys to see how Americans felt about teen driving and the driving age debate.

Here’s what we found:

  • Other drivers are most concerned about teenagers texting and driving (48%), and least concerned with nighttime driving (1%).

  • 3 in 10 Americans support raising the driving age to reduce teen driving dangers.

You can navigate our guide using the buttons below to learn more about teenage car crashes and teen driving safety tips.

Teen Driving Facts

It’s an exciting day for a teenager when they obtain their driver’s license, but a stressful day for parents. This is because car accidents, while on the decline, are the number two killer of teens. Here are some more teen driving facts to know before you let them take the wheel:

  • Nighttime is the most dangerous for teen driving. Most crashes occur between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., followed by 9 p.m. to midnight

    Teen Drivers Resource
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  • Teens and young adults have the lowest seat belt use rates.

    CDC
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  • Restricting passengers is proven to lower crash rates as well as other risky driving behaviors such as speeding.

    AAA
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  • Teens are more likely to underestimate dangerous situations or not recognize risk at all when compared to older drivers.

    CDC
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  • The first months of licensure is when crash risk is highest as crash rates are about 1.5 times higher for 16-year-olds than for 18–19-year-olds per miles driven.

    CDC
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  • Young males are the most likely to engage in risky driving behavior such as speeding.

    NHTSA
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Teenage Crashes

Teenage drivers are the most inexperienced on the roads, which puts them at greater risk for driving errors and crashes. Teenage driving mistakes are also more likely to injure passengers or other drivers than the teens themselves.

We ran a survey to see how other drivers feel about teen drivers on the road. Check out our results in the chart below:

what do drives fear most about teen drivers
  • Teen crash rates are four times greater than those of adult drivers.

    AAA
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  • Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for teenagers in the U.S.

    AAA
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  • Crash rates are about 1.5 times higher for 16-year-olds than for 18–19-year-olds.

    IIHS
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  • Summer is the most dangerous season for teen drivers.

    Dolman Law
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  • 57% of teen passengers killed occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager.

    IIHS
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  • 48% of Americans think texting and driving is the biggest concern when teenagers are behind the wheel.

    Dolman Law
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  • Teens are more likely to make critical decision errors that lead to serious crashes.

    CDC
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  • Carrying passengers greatly increases the risk of crash for teen drivers, especially if the passengers are other teens.

    AAA
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Teen Texting and Driving Statistics

Over the last 20 years, texting has become a huge risk factor on U.S. roadways. This is especially true for teen drivers, who are the most likely to text and drive. Texting and driving is now more dangerous even than driving drunk, and virtually every state has passed texting and driving bans. Here’s what you need to know about teens’ cell phone use while driving.

  • Dialing a phone while driving increases the risk of teen crashes by 6 times.

    NHTSA
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  • Texting while driving increases the risk of teen crashes by 23 times.

    NHTSA
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  • Cell phone use while driving is highest among 16 to 24-year-olds.

    Injury Facts
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  • Texting while driving kills 11 teens a day.

    NNVA
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  • 94% of teens are aware of the dangers around texting and driving, yet 35% still admit to sending texts while operating a vehicle.

    AAA
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  • 39% of high school drivers will text or send an email while driving at least once a month.

    CDC
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  • 48% of teens have been in a car where the driver was texting and driving.

    NNVA
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Teen Drinking and Driving Statistics

Even though the national drinking age is 21, young people abuse alcohol more than any other substance. An overwhelming majority of teens will consume alcohol by the age of 17, and even more startling, many will also get behind the wheel. Teens who drink and drive are even more dangerous than adults who engage in the same risky behavior. Here’s a summary of teen drinking and driving trends. 

  • Despite the drinking age being 21, 12 to 20-year-olds account for more than 10% of alcohol consumption in the U.S.

    NIAAA
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  • Kids who start drinking at an early age are seven times more likely to be involved in an alcohol-related crash.

    MADD
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  • Nearly 1 in 5 high school students rode with a driver who had been drinking alcohol at least once during the past month in 2019.

    Teen Driver Source
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  • 16% of fatal teen crashes involve alcohol.

    CDC
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  • 5% of high school students admitted to drinking and driving at least once during the past month in 2019.

    Teen Driver Source
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  • Teens are the most likely to be killed in an alcohol-related crash.

    CDC
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  • Approximately 1 in 7 teenagers binge drink, yet only 1 in 100 parents believe their child binge drinks.

    MADD
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  • More than a third of teens falsely believe that they drive better under the influence of marijuana.

    MADD
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  • Teen drivers are actually less likely to drink and drive than adults, but their crash risk is much higher when they do.

    Teen Driver Source
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Raising the Driving Age Debate

IIHS released a research report outlining how raising the driving age would save teen lives. This and other similar studies have turned the driving age into a debate. While driving ages vary state to state, most teenagers in the U.S. are able to obtain a license by the time they turn 16.

We ran a survey to see how Americans felt about raising the driving age. When asked specifically whether they supported it as a method for reducing teen driving dangers, we found that 30% supported it.

Here’s a closer look at our results.

30 percent of americans support raising the driving age

Teen Driving Safety Tips

As a parent, you’re the key to keeping your new teen driver safe. While you can’t always be in control, these tips will help get your teenager road ready.

  1. Set a good example

You should start this step well before it’s time for your teen to get a license. From early childhood, your kids will be watching you drive. Teach them good driving habits through leading by example. Always buckle up, stow your phone, and drive the speed limit.

  1. Enroll your teen in driving school

There’s no such thing as too much practice. Even if you’re set on teaching your child how to drive, it doesn’t hurt to loop in the help of a professional.

  1. Have a zero tolerance for alcohol policy

Even if you don’t think alcohol or substances are an issue for your child, assume there’s always a chance it could be. Set strict boundaries so your teen never gets behind the wheel drunk. You can also have a backup plan for if situations do arise, such as offering to pay for a ride share.

  1. Designate rules around other passengers

Other teen passengers in the car greatly increases the risk of a crash, and the risk of crash increases as the passenger count does. Don’t be afraid to come up with car rules about who is allowed to ride with your teen and when.

  1. Sign a parent-teen driving contract

As a parent, you have the authority to only hand over the keys if your teenage driver practices safe driving habits. One way to enforce the rules of the road is to have your teen sign a parent-teen driving contract. You can download our free parent-teen driving contact here.

Download Printable
Teen Driving Safety Contract

If the worst does occur and your teen driver suffers injuries in an accident, or if you or a loved one has been injured by a teenage driver, you may be entitled to compensation. Seeking out legal advice can help you decide what to do next.