Car accident prevention begins with helping teens gain the experience and skills necessary to stay safe on the road. Statistics show that motor vehicle crashes remain a leading cause of death for adolescents in the United States. Per mile driven, drivers ages 16 to 19 have crash rates approximately four times greater than those of drivers ages 20 and older. Fatal crash risk is highest for those ages 16 and 17.
Car accident prevention statistics show that there are three common critical errors newly licensed teen drivers make that lead to serious crashes: lack of scanning to detect and respond to hazards, driving too fast for road conditions, and being distracted by something inside or outside of the vehicle.
Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) have developed and tested the TeenDrivingPlan Practice Guide to help parents provide their teen drivers with the quality, quantity, and diversity of driving practice to develop these critical skills.
Watch this video on how to use the TeenDrivingPlan Practice Guide:
CHOP researchers are developing other innovative injury prevention counseling resources for practitioners to share with families during well visits. Families should look to their teens' primary care pediatrician as a trusted source for this information.
In 2021, 2,116 young drivers (ages 15-20) died in traffic crashes, an 11% increase from 1,899 in 2020.
More Car Accident Prevention Statistics
- 15,510 teen drivers ages 16-19 were involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes from 2015-2019. More than one-third of those crashes involved speeding.
- Over 60% of pediatric spinal fractures occur in children ages 15-17, coinciding with the beginning of legal driving. Motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) are the most common cause, and nearly two-thirds of pediatric spinal fractures sustained in MVCs occurred when seat belts were not used.
- Making left turns, rear-end events, and running off the road are the most common reasons why newly licensed teen drivers crash.
- Because their scanning skills are underdeveloped, new drivers often detect a hazard later than experienced drivers, increasing crash risk.
- Novice autistic drivers are 44% less likely to crash due to unsafe speed than non-autistic young drivers.
- Crashes are preventable. Teens who say their parents set rules and pay attention to their activities in a helpful, supportive way are half as likely to crash.
- From 2002-2021, fatal crashes involving young drivers fell 38%, while they increased nearly 8% for drivers age 21 and older.
- From 2002-2021, deaths of young drivers involved in crashes fell about 45%, while deaths of older drivers (age 21 and older) increased 11%.