Fatality Facts 2018Teenagers

Overview

In the United States, teenagers drive less than all but the oldest people, but their numbers of crashes and crash deaths are disproportionately high. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 2020. [Unpublished analysis of April 1, 2016 - March 31, 2017 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Household Travel Survey, General Estimates System, and Fatality Analysis Reporting System]. Arlington, VA.In the United States, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is nearly 3 times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. Risk is highest at ages 16-17.

Beginning in the mid-1990s, all states adopted graduated licensing systems, which phase in full driving privileges. National studies of graduated licensing found that strong laws were associated with substantially lower fatal crash rates and substantially lower insurance claim rates among young teen drivers covered by the laws. Strong restrictions on nighttime driving and teen passengers, as well as raising the licensing age, reduced rates of fatal crashes and insurance collision claims. McCartt, A.T.; Teoh, E.R.; Fields, M.; Braitman, K.A.; and Hellinga, L.A. 2010. Graduated licensing laws and fatal crashes of teenage drivers: a national study. Traffic Injury Prevention 11:240-48.Trempel, R.E. 2009. Graduated driver licensing laws and insurance collision claim frequencies of teenage drivers. Arlington, VA: Highway Loss Data Institute.

The following facts are based on analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS).

Posted December 2019.

Passenger vehicle occupants

In 2018, 63 percent of deaths among passenger vehicle occupants ages 16-19 were drivers.

Teenage passenger vehicle occupant deaths by age and seating position, 2018
AgeDriver PassengerTotal*
Number%Number%Number%
13 .. 41 100 41 100
14 2 3 58 97 60 100
15 22 21 84 79 107 100
16 121 47 132 52 255 100
17 230 58 163 41 394 100
18 348 67 173 33 521 100
19 390 71 163 29 553 100
Total 1,113 58 814 42 1,931 100

In 2018, 57 percent of the deaths of teenage passengers in passenger vehicles occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager. Among deaths of passengers of all ages, 12 percent occurred when a teenager was driving.

Passenger vehicle passenger deaths by passenger age and driver age, 2018
Passenger ageDriver AgeAll ages
13-19 years 20-24 years 25-29 years 30-59 years 60-69 years ≥70 yearsUnknown
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number
<13 27 4 86 14 134 21 360 57 14 2 12 2 3<1 636
13-19 461 57 151 19 32 4 146 18 13 2 4<1 7 1 814
20-24 107 15 353 51 122 18 98 14 4 1 2<1 9 1 695
25-29 16 3 120 22 203 37 191 35 4 1 2<1 11 2 547
30-59 61 4 135 8 190 12 1,092 66 110 7 44 3 17 1 1,649
60-69 8 2 13 3 12 3 183 41 155 35 68 15 4 1 443
70+ 9 1 23 3 13 1 210 24 134 15 499 56 1<1 889
Unknown 1 7 3 20 3 20 5 33 2 13 1 700 15
All ages 690 12 884 16 709 12 2,285 40 436 8 632 11 52 1 5,688

In 2018, belt use among fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers age 16 (53 percent), 17 (50 percent) and 18 (50 percent) was higher than among fatally injured drivers age 19 (44 percent) and those ages 20-59 (42 percent), but lower than among drivers 60 and older combined (64 percent). Among fatally injured 16-19 year-old occupants, belt use among passengers (34 percent) was considerably lower than among drivers (48 percent). Note that belt use among those fatally injured is not always accurately recorded, but it gives an indication of relative belt use rates in serious crashes by age group.

Seat belt use among fatally injured passenger vehicle occupants by age and seating position, 2018
AgeDrivers Passengers
Belt used Unbelted Unknown Belt used Unbelted Unknown
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
13000000 20 49 17 41 4 10
1400 2 10000 24 41 27 47 7 12
15 13 59 6 27 3 14 34 40 43 51 7 8
16 64 53 44 36 13 11 50 38 66 50 16 12
17 116 50 100 43 14 6 49 30 89 55 25 15
18 173 50 152 44 23 7 73 42 80 46 20 12
19 172 44 183 47 35 9 40 25 100 61 23 14
20-24 820 40 1,018 49 226 11 222 32 391 56 82 12
25-29 691 37 1,003 54 176 9 171 31 312 57 64 12
30-59 3,272 45 3,456 47 622 8 649 39 835 51 165 10
60-69 1,166 58 696 35 152 8 258 58 150 34 35 8
70+ 1,884 69 704 26 154 6 665 75 174 20 50 6

Among passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-19 involved in fatal crashes in 2018, 42 percent were involved in single-vehicle crashes. This was higher than for drivers ages 25 and older (35 percent).

Passenger vehicle drivers in fatal crashes by age and crash type, 2018
Single vehicle Multiple vehicleAll crashes
Number%Number%Number%
16-19 1,181 42 1,634 58 2,815 100
20-24 2,126 42 2,940 58 5,066 100
25-29 1,863 39 2,900 61 4,763 100
30-59 6,815 36 12,021 64 18,836 100
60-69 1,426 33 2,835 67 4,261 100
70+ 1,329 29 3,177 71 4,506 100

Population and mileage rates

From 1975 to 2018, the rate of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 people declined by 65 percent for teenagers ages 16-19 (from 47.6 to 16.6), 47 percent for people ages 20-34 (from 38.7 to 20.5), 35 percent for people ages 35-69 (from 20.5 to 13.4), and 17 percent for people 70 and older (from 15.4 to 12.7). The teenage passenger vehicle driver fatal crash involvement rate fell for the second year in a row, and was 5% lower than the rate in 2017.

Passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 people by age group, 1975-2018
16-19 years 20-34 years 35-69 years 70+ years
PopulationNumberRatePopulationNumberRatePopulationNumberRatePopulationNumberRate
1975 17,016,355 8,09447.6 50,998,09819,71538.7 74,764,82915,32520.5 14,563,945 2,24915.4
1976 17,194,079 8,45749.2 52,745,00519,84737.6 75,419,92115,12720.1 14,960,120 2,39516.0
1977 17,276,153 8,96851.9 54,497,44821,53039.5 76,203,08315,71020.6 15,401,249 2,38715.5
1978 17,287,835 9,29753.8 55,909,06323,28441.6 77,348,22216,32321.1 15,876,541 2,52415.9
1979 17,242,116 9,24053.6 57,499,19723,99141.7 78,311,10716,07520.5 16,388,617 2,38614.6
1980 17,112,117 8,63750.5 58,814,39123,95740.7 79,111,52216,00220.2 16,897,977 2,37514.1
1981 16,756,984 7,80046.5 60,563,41623,75839.2 79,785,59116,13120.2 17,322,714 2,48714.4
1982 16,280,287 6,50940.0 61,099,52420,84834.1 81,488,90214,49117.8 17,783,888 2,52214.2
1983 15,783,684 6,25339.6 61,840,15419,95532.3 82,861,20414,45917.4 18,233,751 2,57414.1
1984 15,257,750 6,46442.4 62,491,25520,96433.5 84,256,66115,07917.9 18,662,938 2,77014.8
1985 14,969,843 6,27641.9 62,961,15420,83733.1 85,628,41015,26517.8 19,072,785 3,00515.8
1986 14,981,380 7,01746.8 63,115,88922,00834.9 87,205,53715,73618.0 19,463,480 3,23516.6
1987 15,172,917 7,02146.3 63,032,29822,38735.5 88,808,04616,74918.9 19,890,817 3,37617.0
1988 15,159,185 7,24947.8 62,784,73922,36735.6 90,464,40617,50119.3 20,302,280 3,62317.8
1989 14,874,579 6,90646.4 62,494,05621,27334.0 92,250,76217,78019.3 20,719,397 3,63117.5
1990 14,424,509 6,35644.1 62,282,68320,71533.3 94,140,10817,57918.7 21,164,283 3,68817.4
1991 13,935,348 5,71841.0 62,025,75019,07330.8 96,068,11116,36617.0 21,751,897 3,76917.3
1992 13,720,071 5,23138.1 61,427,10017,84629.1 98,214,53916,37716.7 22,321,217 3,83417.2
1993 13,874,164 5,43439.2 60,582,33217,69129.2 100,399,64817,02417.0 22,800,673 4,14618.2
1994 14,128,177 5,77340.9 59,629,35117,67229.6 102,541,52517,51417.1 23,243,845 4,32518.6
1995 14,401,118 5,87440.8 58,712,40717,91130.5 104,712,32818,86918.0 23,693,757 4,50519.0
1996 14,907,191 6,02140.4 57,753,91017,73830.7 106,975,95319,26618.0 24,056,323 4,56319.0
1997 15,257,453 5,94739.0 57,046,56916,84729.5 109,232,42619,70818.0 24,408,817 4,82319.8
1998 15,649,272 5,93837.9 56,421,05316,27128.8 111,331,19520,03118.0 24,793,551 4,80819.4
1999 15,927,464 6,15838.7 55,961,40116,15428.9 113,451,31219,58517.3 25,092,805 4,80619.2
2000 16,192,473 6,04137.3 58,971,70916,44427.9 117,114,73919,96617.0 25,559,879 4,57417.9
2001 16,232,934 5,98336.9 59,465,06616,28427.4 119,060,43620,28717.0 25,797,467 4,64918.0
2002 16,287,999 6,13437.7 60,046,06816,68627.8 120,913,20720,35816.8 26,005,326 4,54317.5
2003 16,344,596 5,74535.1 60,599,35016,32926.9 122,772,57820,79916.9 26,200,946 4,64417.7
2004 16,518,068 5,72434.7 61,003,24016,40126.9 124,762,84820,50916.4 26,337,518 4,35516.5
2005 16,652,533 5,36032.2 61,180,77216,51627.0 126,831,71421,00416.6 26,658,669 4,23715.9
2006 16,996,219 5,27031.0 61,527,21916,23726.4 128,907,36120,15215.6 26,884,798 4,06415.1
2007 17,208,807 4,97028.9 61,623,32215,62425.4 130,500,56619,69615.1 27,135,517 4,00414.8
2008 17,314,417 4,04623.4 61,990,54613,69622.1 131,908,05817,86813.5 27,521,034 3,73913.6
2009 17,404,102 3,62020.8 63,105,88112,33819.6 132,693,70816,67112.6 27,786,270 3,56512.8
2010 17,797,523 3,23418.2 62,649,94712,06619.3 134,995,31416,20412.0 27,832,721 3,63013.0
2011 17,487,207 2,97717.0 63,944,33011,96018.7 136,282,08515,82811.6 28,520,353 3,55212.5
2012 17,216,688 2,91716.9 64,892,52412,49319.3 137,348,71316,52812.0 29,168,003 3,65112.5
2013 17,011,519 2,58415.2 65,640,02512,17818.6 138,145,37016,40511.9 30,095,357 3,65612.1
2014 16,903,924 2,62215.5 66,428,67812,20518.4 139,374,83116,25111.7 30,917,945 3,72012.0
2015 16,859,161 2,92417.3 66,876,51513,44420.1 140,723,23118,04312.8 31,693,384 3,94412.4
2016 16,949,773 3,04017.9 67,156,94014,62221.8 141,678,55119,02413.4 32,442,777 4,30213.3
2017 17,017,100 2,96617.4 67,461,30714,39921.3 142,082,36119,48513.7 34,022,298 4,52813.3
2018 16,956,003 2,81516.6 67,571,35313,82420.5 142,269,11619,10213.4 35,344,300 4,50612.7

The rate of deaths per 100,000 people in 2018 peaked at ages 20-24 for male drivers (13.3) and at age 18 for male passengers (4.0). Death rates peaked at age 18 for both female drivers (6.0) and passengers (4.0).

Deaths in passenger vehicles per 100,000 people by seating position, age and gender, 2018

Deaths in passenger vehicles per 100,000 people by seating position, age and gender, 2018
Age Male FemaleTotal
PopulationDriver deathsPassenger deathsPopulationDriver deathsPassenger deathsPopulationDriver deathsPassenger deaths
NumberRateNumberRateNumberRateNumberRateNumberRateNumberRate
<13 26,859,496 1 0.0 310 1.2 25,701,990 1 0.0 326 1.3 52,561,486 2 0.0 636 1.2
13 2,121,925 0 0.0 22 1.0 2,034,962 0 0.0 19 0.9 4,156,887 0 0.0 41 1.0
14 2,125,611 1 0.0 35 1.6 2,041,460 1 0.0 23 1.1 4,167,071 2 0.0 58 1.4
15 2,111,626 17 0.8 43 2.0 2,029,592 5 0.2 41 2.0 4,141,218 22 0.5 84 2.0
16 2,106,746 73 3.5 73 3.5 2,023,998 48 2.4 59 2.9 4,130,744 121 2.9 132 3.2
17 2,165,445 140 6.5 85 3.9 2,076,491 90 4.3 77 3.7 4,241,936 230 5.4 162 3.8
18 2,209,794 221 10.0 89 4.0 2,109,928 127 6.0 84 4.0 4,319,722 348 8.1 173 4.0
19 2,181,297 276 12.7 81 3.7 2,082,304 114 5.5 82 3.9 4,263,601 390 9.1 163 3.8
20-24 11,201,547 1,494 13.3 413 3.7 10,672,032 570 5.3 281 2.6 21,873,579 2,064 9.4 694 3.2
25-29 12,018,838 1,360 11.3 321 2.7 11,542,918 510 4.4 226 2.0 23,561,756 1,870 7.9 547 2.3
30-59 62,990,000 5,286 8.4 812 1.3 63,996,590 2,063 3.2 837 1.3 126,986,590 7,349 5.8 1,649 1.3
60-69 17,764,349 1,393 7.8 164 0.9 19,654,195 620 3.2 279 1.4 37,418,544 2,013 5.4 443 1.2
70+ 15,272,005 1,837 12.0 288 1.9 20,072,295 905 4.5 601 3.0 35,344,300 2,742 7.8 889 2.5

The rate of fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled in 2016-17 was highest at ages 16-19 for male drivers and at ages 80 and over for female drivers.Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 2020. [Unpublished analysis of April 1, 2016 - March 31, 2017 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Household Travel Survey, General Estimates System, and Fatality Analysis Reporting System]. Arlington, VA.

Fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled by driver age and gender, April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017
AgeMale FemaleTotal*
Crash involvementsMilesRateCrash involvementsMilesRateCrash involvementsMilesRate
16-19 2,019 31,732,691,896 6.4 1,003 30,677,731,652 3.3 3,024 62,410,423,548 4.8
20-24 3,898 89,913,330,623 4.3 1,713 82,245,489,504 2.1 5,618 172,158,820,127 3.3
25-29 3,429 97,584,235,223 3.5 1,533 115,903,021,775 1.3 4,964 213,487,256,997 2.3
30-59 12,875 785,270,175,131 1.6 6,011 558,224,868,022 1.1 18,889 1,343,495,043,154 1.4
60-69 3,019 207,918,951,320 1.5 1,380 136,711,746,704 1.0 4,401 344,630,698,024 1.3
70-79 1,754 85,010,352,002 2.1 807 54,430,675,479 1.5 2,563 139,441,027,481 1.8
80+ 1,169 19,674,241,353 5.9 568 12,308,938,944 4.6 1,737 31,983,180,297 5.4

The rate of nighttime fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled in 2016-17 for male drivers ages 16-19 was almost 3 times that of male drivers ages 30-59. The corresponding comparison for females yields just over double the rate. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 2020. [Unpublished analysis of April 1, 2016 - March 31, 2017 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Household Travel Survey, General Estimates System, and Fatality Analysis Reporting System]. Arlington, VA.

Nighttime (9 p.m.-6 a.m.) fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled by driver age and gender, April 1, 2016 – March 31, 2017
AgeMale Female
Crash involvementsMilesRateCrash involvementsMilesRate
16-19 788 4,931,226,605 16.0 300 2,916,766,045 10.3
20-24 1,788 12,749,476,470 14.0 662 11,332,793,419 5.8
25-29 1,565 12,346,988,856 12.7 555 6,306,786,823 8.8
30-59 4,372 79,775,321,852 5.5 1,480 35,496,839,100 4.2
60-69 592 15,786,500,196 3.8 196 7,501,060,309 2.6
70+ 294 4,365,410,112 6.7 99 1,972,194,094 5.0

When teenagers died

In 2018, teenage crash deaths occurred most often in July.

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by month, 2018
MonthDeaths%
January 178 7
February 181 7
March 194 8
April 186 8
May 232 9
June 224 9
July 247 10
August 204 8
September 227 9
October 224 9
November 201 8
December 178 7
Total 2,476 100

Fifty-two percent of motor vehicle crash deaths among teenagers in 2018 occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by day of week, 2018
Day of weekDeaths%
Sunday 437 18
Monday 324 13
Tuesday 270 11
Wednesday 282 11
Thursday 318 13
Friday 371 15
Saturday 474 19
Total 2,476 100

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths in 2018 occurred most frequently from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. (18 percent), followed closely by the time between 9 p.m. and  midnight (16 percent) and between 3 and 6 p.m. (15 percent).

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by time of day, 2018
Time of dayDeaths%
Midnight - 3 a.m. 328 13
3 a.m. - 6 a.m. 194 8
6 a.m. - 9 a.m. 276 11
9 a.m. - noon 187 8
Noon - 3 p.m. 259 11
3 p.m. - 6 p.m. 375 15
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. 434 18
9 p.m. - midnight 406 16
Total* 2,476 100

Alcohol involvement

Young drivers are less likely than adults to drive after drinking alcohol, but their crash risk is substantially higher when they do. This is especially true at low and moderate blood alcohol concentrations (BACs). Voas, R.B.; Torres, P.; Romano, E.; and Lacey, J.H. 2012. Alcohol-related risk of driver fatalities: an update using 2007 data. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 73(3):341-350. The estimated percentage of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-17 who had BACs at or above 0.08 percent in 2018 was 16 percent, down 61 percent since 1982. Most of this decline took place in the 1980s. This age group experienced a similar decline in alcohol involvement as drivers ages 18-20 (61 percent). These age groups experienced a larger decline in alcohol involvement than drivers ages 21-30 (33 percent and drivers over age 30 (42 percent).

Percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent by age, 1982-2018

Estimated percent and number of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent by age group, 1982-2018
Year16-17 years18-20 years21-30 years>30 years
Drivers killedEstimated drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08Drivers killedEstimated drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08Drivers killedEstimated drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08Drivers killedEstimated drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08
NumberNumber%NumberNumber%NumberNumber%NumberNumber%
1982 895 368 41 2,561 1,458 57 6,244 3,948 63 9,861 4,208 43
1983 899 345 38 2,427 1,336 55 6,053 3,859 64 9,845 3,943 40
1984 969 321 33 2,472 1,274 52 6,413 3,885 61 10,337 3,860 37
1985 935 250 27 2,292 1,009 44 6,263 3,659 58 10,441 3,713 36
1986 1,172 336 29 2,464 1,158 47 6,695 3,974 59 11,042 3,887 35
1987 1,192 311 26 2,438 1,004 41 6,802 3,975 58 11,579 4,016 35
1988 1,177 302 26 2,611 1,056 40 6,819 3,991 59 12,145 4,203 35
1989 1,060 234 22 2,476 991 40 6,475 3,675 57 12,401 4,272 34
1990 999 224 22 2,398 974 41 6,152 3,510 57 12,274 4,238 35
1991 902 193 21 2,119 852 40 5,623 3,183 57 11,801 3,993 34
1992 900 165 18 1,797 664 37 5,122 2,759 54 11,639 3,823 33
1993 935 152 16 1,870 643 34 5,065 2,658 52 12,038 3,851 32
1994 1,006 167 17 1,984 632 32 4,975 2,484 50 12,525 3,771 30
1995 1,015 150 15 1,968 575 29 5,081 2,585 51 13,247 4,155 31
1996 1,106 186 17 1,920 583 30 4,989 2,475 50 13,478 4,070 30
1997 1,090 180 17 1,946 594 31 4,775 2,275 48 13,777 4,004 29
1998 1,059 161 15 2,035 607 30 4,577 2,222 49 13,839 3,930 28
1999 1,092 172 16 2,169 677 31 4,653 2,260 49 13,870 3,866 28
2000 999 158 16 2,251 686 30 4,706 2,268 48 13,743 3,997 29
2001 993 132 13 2,254 691 31 4,735 2,358 50 13,790 4,005 29
2002 1,126 155 14 2,326 718 31 4,938 2,462 50 14,006 4,020 29
2003 994 159 16 2,266 699 31 4,852 2,308 48 13,957 3,930 28
2004 969 149 15 2,206 665 30 4,970 2,372 48 13,689 3,743 27
2005 879 132 15 2,106 603 29 5,067 2,492 49 13,809 3,852 28
2006 859 151 18 2,161 680 31 5,159 2,535 49 13,321 3,779 28
2007 775 133 17 1,953 633 32 5,028 2,592 52 12,697 3,675 29
2008 580 91 16 1,712 535 31 4,388 2,327 53 11,528 3,308 29
2009 503 69 14 1,546 540 35 3,870 2,020 52 10,869 3,156 29
2010 410 58 14 1,265 380 30 3,697 1,816 49 10,613 2,914 27
2011 422 78 18 1,300 410 32 3,612 1,747 48 10,193 2,820 28
2012 390 60 15 1,234 376 30 3,748 1,803 48 10,505 2,958 28
2013 302 31 10 1,079 328 30 3,671 1,788 49 10,492 2,958 28
2014 344 50 15 1,090 294 27 3,636 1,707 47 10,384 2,849 27
2015 381 53 14 1,210 295 24 3,860 1,658 43 11,134 2,901 26
2016 406 47 12 1,185 284 24 4,205 1,812 43 11,801 2,997 25
2017 375 48 13 1,108 274 25 4,057 1,721 42 12,168 3,066 25
2018 351 56 16 1,079 238 22 3,929 1,655 42 11,770 2,991 25

Among fatally injured teenage drivers in 2018, females were less likely than males to have high BACs. Among fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-17, 20 percent of males and 9 percent of females had BACs at or above 0.08 percent. Among fatally injured drivers ages 18-19, 24 percent of males and 17 percent of females had BACs at or above 0.08 percent.

Estimated number and percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent by gender and age, 2018
Age Male FemaleTotal*
Drivers killedEstimated drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08Drivers killedEstimated drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08Drivers killedEstimated drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08
NumberNumber%NumberNumber%NumberNumber%
16-17 213 43 20 138 13 9 351 56 16
18-19 497 117 24 241 42 17 738 159 22
20 238 62 26 103 18 17 341 79 23
21-30 2,851 1,298 46 1,078 357 33 3,929 1,655 42
31-60 5,217 1,925 37 2,040 501 25 7,258 2,426 33
61-70 1,352 286 21 593 74 12 1,946 360 18
>70 1,712 162 9 854 44 5 2,566 206 8
All ages* 12,107 3,896 32 5,056 1,049 21 17,168 4,946 29