Teenagers | 2009

In every motorized country, teenage drivers represent a major hazard. 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. [Unpublished analysis of data from the US Department of Transportation's National Household Travel Survey, General Estimates System, and Fatality Analysis Reporting System]. Arlington, VA. In the United States, the crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is 4 times the risk for older drivers. Risk is highest at age 16. In fact, the crash rate per mile driven is twice as high for 16 year-olds as it is for 18-19 year-olds. Crash rates for teenagers are high largely because of their immaturity combined with driving inexperience.

Beginning in the mid 1990s, more and more states have adopted graduated licensing systems, which phase in full driving privileges. In states that have adopted graduated licensing systems, the crash rates among teenage drivers have declined about 10-30 percent. Ulmer, R.G.; Preusser, D.F.; Williams, A.F.; Ferguson, S.A.; and Farmer, C.M. 2000. Effect of Florida's graduated licensing program on the crash rate of teenage drivers. Accident Analysis and Prevention 32:527-32. Shope, J.T. and Molnar, L.J. 2004. Michigan's graduated driver licensing program: evaluation of the first four years. Journal of Safety and Research 35:337-44. Foss, R.D.; Feaganes, J.R.; and Rodgman, E.A. 2001. Initial effects of graduated driver licensing on 16-year-old driver crashes in North Carolina. Journal of the American Medical Association 286:1588-92. Governor's Highway Safety Office. 2001. Review of Ohio's graduated driver license program. Columbus, OH: Ohio Department of Public Safety. Mayhew, D.R.; Simpson, H.M.; Des Groseilliers, M.; and Williams, A.F. 2001. Impact of the graduated driver licensing program in Nova Scotia. Journal of Crash Prevention and Injury Control 2:179-92. Zhu, M.; Chu, H.; and Li, G. 2009. Effects of graduated driver licensing on licensure and traffic injury rates in upstate New York. Accident Analysis and Prevention 41:531-35. Hallmark, S.L.; Veneziano, D.A.; Falb, S.; Pawlovich, M.; and Witt, D. 2008. Evaluation of Iowa's graduated driver's licensing program. Accident Analysis and Prevention 40:1401-05. National studies of graduated licensing laws have found that laws the Institute rated good were associated with substantially lower fatal crash rates among teen drivers, and substantially lower insurance claim rates, than laws rated poor. Strong restrictions on nighttime driving and teen passengers, as well as delayed licensing age, also reduced rates of fatal crashes and insurance collision claims. McCartt, A.T.; Toeh, E.R.; Fields, M.; Braitman, K.A.; and Hellinga, L.A. 2009. Graduated licensing laws and fatal crashes of teenage drivers: a national study. Arlington, VA: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 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).

Trends

A total of 3,466 teenagers ages 13-19 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2009. This is 60 percent fewer than in 1975 and 15 percent fewer than in 2008. About 2 out of every 3 teenagers killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2009 were males. Since 1975 teenage motor vehicle crash deaths have decreased more among males (66 percent) than among females (44 percent).

Teenage motor vehicle deaths by gender, 1975-2009

Motor vehicle crash deaths among 13-19 year-olds by gender, 1975-2009
Year Male Female Total*
Num % Num % Num
1975 6,532 75 2,215 25 8,748
1976 6,826 73 2,530 27 9,356
1977 6,983 72 2,650 28 9,633
1978 7,295 73 2,645 27 9,940
1979 7,280 73 2,639 27 9,920
1980 6,932 73 2,591 27 9,524
1981 6,014 72 2,301 28 8,315
1982 5,354 73 1,969 27 7,323
1983 4,850 71 1,955 29 6,805
1984 4,947 71 2,005 29 6,952
1985 4,715 70 2,022 30 6,737
1986 5,280 71 2,182 29 7,466
1987 5,107 70 2,186 30 7,293
1988 5,036 70 2,204 30 7,242
1989 4,528 68 2,158 32 6,688
1990 4,420 69 1,944 31 6,364
1991 3,891 68 1,867 32 5,760
1992 3,495 67 1,713 33 5,215
1993 3,678 68 1,742 32 5,421
1994 3,770 67 1,859 33 5,632
1995 3,702 65 1,970 35 5,675
1996 3,855 66 1,963 34 5,819
1997 3,715 65 2,014 35 5,730
1998 3,649 65 1,960 35 5,610
1999 3,745 65 2,007 35 5,752
2000 3,759 66 1,925 34 5,685
2001 3,735 67 1,859 33 5,594
2002 3,939 66 2,015 34 5,954
2003 3,772 66 1,946 34 5,718
2004 3,696 65 1,948 35 5,645
2005 3,496 66 1,803 34 5,300
2006 3,415 66 1,744 34 5,159
2007 3,280 66 1,701 34 4,981
2008 2,694 66 1,373 34 4,070
2009 2,214 64 1,251 36 3,466
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Teenagers accounted for 10 percent of the US population in 2009 and 10 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths. They comprised 12 percent of passenger vehicle (cars, pickups, SUVs, and vans) occupant deaths among all ages, 6 percent of pedestrian deaths, 3 percent of motorcyclist deaths, 10 percent of bicyclist deaths, and 21 percent of all-terrain vehicle rider deaths.

US teenage and total population, 2009
Teen population Total population % teens of total population
29,667,279 307,006,550 10
Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths as percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths, 2009
Death type Teen crash deaths Crash deaths for all ages % teen crash deaths of all crash deaths
Passenger vehicle occupant 2,872 23,437 12
Pedestrian 256 4,092 6
Motorcyclist 134 4,281 3
Bicyclist 66 630 10
All-terrain vehicle riders 70 336 21
Other 68 1,032 7
Total* 3,466 33,808 10
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Eighty-three percent of teenage motor vehicle crash deaths in 2009 were passenger vehicle occupants. The others were pedestrians (7 percent), motorcyclists (4 percent), bicyclists (2 percent), riders of all-terrain vehicles (2 percent), and people in other kinds of vehicles (2 percent).

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by type and age, 2009
Age Passenger vehicle occupants Motorcyclists Pedestrians Bicyclists All-terrain vehicle riders Other Total motor vehicle deaths*
Num % Num % Num % Num % Num % Num % Num
13 60 56 3 3 21 19 11 10 4 4 9 8 108
14 86 60 3 2 25 17 11 8 10 7 9 6 144
15 151 67 3 1 32 14 11 5 12 5 15 7 224
16 415 86 9 2 25 5 10 2 10 2 12 2 481
17 529 90 7 1 37 6 7 1 7 1 3 1 590
18 827 87 47 5 49 5 7 1 13 1 12 1 955
19 804 83 62 6 67 7 9 1 14 1 8 1 964
Total 2,872 83 134 4 256 7 66 2 70 2 68 2 3,466
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

In 2007, the latest year for which data are available, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death among 13-19 year-old males and females in the United States. Thirty-three percent of deaths among 13-19 year-olds occurred in motor vehicle crashes, 39 percent among females and 31 percent among males.

Leading causes of death among teenagers by gender, 2007
Cause of death Male Female Total
Motor vehicles 3,282 1,714 4,996
Homicide 2,031 338 2,369
Suicide 1,303 304 1,607
Malignant neoplasms 505 380 885
Motor vehicle crash deaths as a percent of deaths from all causes by gender and age, 2007
Age Male Female Total*
MV deaths All deaths % MV deaths All deaths % MV deaths All deaths %
< 5 269 18,927 1 241 14,914 2 510 33,841 2
5- 9 262 1,519 17 212 1,192 18 474 2,711 17
10-12 156 977 16 129 699 18 285 1,676 17
13-15 460 1,992 23 305 1,140 27 765 3,132 24
16-17 1,043 3,184 33 650 1,418 46 1,693 4,602 37
18-19 1,777 5,471 32 746 1,854 40 2,523 7,325 34
20-24 4,391 15,758 28 1,310 4,925 27 5,701 20,683 28
25-29 3,014 15,107 20 935 5,824 16 3,949 20,931 19
30-59 12,926 260,836 5 4,624 157,555 3 17,551 418,391 4
60-69 2,057 192,520 1 998 137,123 1 3,055 329,643 1
≥ 70 2,728 687,521 < 1 1,903 893,055 < 1 4,631 1,580,576 < 1
*Total includes other and/or unknowns
NOTE: Data on motor vehicle crashes come from FARS.
Data on other causes of death come from U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Drivers and passengers in passenger vehicles

In 2009, 59 percent of deaths among passenger vehicle occupants ages 16-19 were drivers.

Passenger vehicle teenage occupant deaths by age and seating position, 2009
Age Driver Passenger Total*
Num % Num % Num
13 7 12 53 88 60
14 11 13 75 87 86
15 21 14 130 86 151
16 195 47 218 53 415
17 307 58 218 41 529
18 498 60 325 39 827
19 511 64 291 36 804
Total 1,550 54 1,310 46 2,872
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Sixty percent of teenage passenger deaths in 2009 occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager. Among deaths of passengers of all ages, 18 percent occurred when a teenager was driving.

Passenger vehicle passenger deaths by passenger age and driver age, 2009
Passenger age Driver age All ages*
13-19 20-24 25-29 30-59 60-69 ≥ 70
Num % Num % Num % Num % Num % Num % Num
< 13 75 10 92 12 145 19 408 54 21 3 11 1 754
13-19 785 60 260 20 56 4 185 14 10 1 2 < 1 1,310
20-24 148 16 460 50 147 16 140 15 5 1 3 < 1 917
25-29 42 7 165 28 197 33 182 31 5 1 1 < 1 594
30-59 90 5 185 11 220 13 1,079 63 86 5 37 2 1,707
60-69 12 3 13 3 21 5 139 35 143 36 67 17 396
≥ 70 11 1 11 1 11 1 215 24 154 17 493 55 896
All ages* 1,164 18 1,191 18 801 12 2,358 36 429 6 616 9 6,602
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

In 2009, belt use among fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-19 (41 percent) was higher than among fatally injured drivers ages 20-29 (36 percent) but lower than among drivers 30 and older combined (48 percent). Among fatally injured 16-19 year-old occupants, belt use among passengers (29 percent) was considerably lower than among drivers (41 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, 2009
Age Drivers Passengers
Belt used Unbelted Unknown Belt used Unbelted Unknown
Number % Number % Number % Number % Number % Number %
13 1 14 5 71 1 14 21 40 24 45 8 15
14 2 18 9 82 0 0 20 27 45 60 10 13
15 6 29 15 71 0 0 38 29 82 63 10 8
16 95 49 82 42 18 9 62 28 132 61 24 11
17 133 43 157 51 17 6 61 28 139 64 18 8
18 208 42 254 51 36 7 97 30 196 60 32 10
19 189 37 281 55 41 8 85 29 178 61 28 10
20-24 843 36 1,312 56 177 8 250 27 582 63 85 9
25-29 621 35 1,028 57 140 8 163 27 380 64 51 9
30-59 2,961 41 3,754 52 520 7 656 38 916 54 135 8
60-69 859 54 627 39 108 7 240 61 131 33 25 6
≥ 70 1,474 65 656 29 153 7 653 73 208 23 35 4
Total* 7,393 44 8,183 49 1,215 7 2,708 41 3,322 50 515 8
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Among passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-19 involved in fatal crashes in 2009, 49 percent were involved in single-vehicle crashes. This was the same for drivers ages 20-24 (49 percent) but higher than for drivers ages 25 and older (39 percent).

Passenger vehicle drivers in fatal crashes by age and crash type, 2009
  Single vehicle Multiple vehicle All crashes*
Num % Num % Num
16-19 1,761 49 1,835 51 3,600
20-24 2,546 49 2,630 51 5,177
25-29 1,836 45 2,249 55 4,087
30-59 6,485 39 9,995 61 16,498
60-69 1,105 35 2,034 65 3,139
70 + 1,084 31 2,465 69 3,551
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Population and mileage rates

From 1975 to 2009, the rate of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 people declined by 57 percent for teenagers ages 16-19 (from 47.6 to 20.7 per 100,000 people), 50 percent for people ages 20-34 (from 38.7 to 19.5 per 100,000 people), 39 percent for people ages 35-69 (from 20.5 to 12.5 per 100,000 people), and 17 percent for people 70 and older (from 15.4 to 12.8 per 100,000 people).

Passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 people by age group, 1975-2009
  16-19 20-34 35-69 ≥ 70
Population Num Rate Population Num Rate Population Num Rate Population Num Rate
1975 17,016,355 8,094 47.6 50,998,098 19,715 38.7 74,764,829 15,325 20.5 14,563,945 2,249 15.4
1976 17,194,079 8,457 49.2 52,745,005 19,847 37.6 75,419,921 15,127 20.1 14,960,120 2,395 16.0
1977 17,276,153 8,968 51.9 54,497,448 21,530 39.5 76,203,083 15,710 20.6 15,401,249 2,387 15.5
1978 17,287,835 9,297 53.8 55,909,063 23,284 41.6 77,348,222 16,323 21.1 15,876,541 2,524 15.9
1979 17,242,116 9,240 53.6 57,499,197 23,991 41.7 78,311,107 16,075 20.5 16,388,617 2,386 14.6
1980 17,112,117 8,637 50.5 58,814,391 23,957 40.7 79,111,522 16,002 20.2 16,897,977 2,375 14.1
1981 16,756,984 7,800 46.5 60,563,416 23,757 39.2 79,785,591 16,131 20.2 17,322,714 2,487 14.4
1982 16,280,287 6,509 40.0 61,099,524 20,848 34.1 81,488,902 14,491 17.8 17,783,888 2,522 14.2
1983 15,783,684 6,253 39.6 61,840,154 19,955 32.3 82,861,204 14,459 17.4 18,233,751 2,574 14.1
1984 15,257,750 6,464 42.4 62,491,255 20,963 33.5 84,256,661 15,079 17.9 18,662,938 2,770 14.8
1985 14,969,843 6,276 41.9 62,961,154 20,835 33.1 85,628,410 15,265 17.8 19,072,785 3,005 15.8
1986 14,981,380 7,017 46.8 63,115,889 22,008 34.9 87,205,537 15,736 18.0 19,463,480 3,235 16.6
1987 15,172,917 7,021 46.3 63,032,298 22,387 35.5 88,808,046 16,747 18.9 19,890,817 3,376 17.0
1988 15,159,185 7,249 47.8 62,784,739 22,365 35.6 90,464,406 17,500 19.3 20,302,280 3,622 17.8
1989 14,874,579 6,906 46.4 62,494,056 21,273 34.0 92,250,762 17,779 19.3 20,719,397 3,631 17.5
1990 14,424,509 6,356 44.1 62,282,683 20,713 33.3 94,140,108 17,579 18.7 21,164,283 3,688 17.4
1991 13,935,348 5,718 41.0 62,025,750 19,073 30.8 96,068,111 16,366 17.0 21,751,897 3,769 17.3
1992 13,720,071 5,231 38.1 61,427,100 17,846 29.1 98,214,539 16,377 16.7 22,321,217 3,834 17.2
1993 13,874,164 5,434 39.2 60,582,332 17,691 29.2 100,399,648 17,024 17.0 22,800,673 4,146 18.2
1994 14,128,177 5,773 40.9 59,629,351 17,672 29.6 102,541,525 17,514 17.1 23,243,845 4,325 18.6
1995 14,401,118 5,874 40.8 58,712,407 17,911 30.5 104,712,328 18,868 18.0 23,693,757 4,505 19.0
1996 14,907,191 6,021 40.4 57,753,910 17,738 30.7 106,975,953 19,265 18.0 24,056,323 4,563 19.0
1997 15,257,453 5,947 39.0 57,046,569 16,847 29.5 109,232,426 19,708 18.0 24,408,817 4,823 19.8
1998 15,649,272 5,938 37.9 56,421,053 16,270 28.8 111,331,195 20,031 18.0 24,793,551 4,808 19.4
1999 15,927,464 6,158 38.7 55,961,401 16,154 28.9 113,451,312 19,584 17.3 25,092,805 4,806 19.2
2000 16,192,473 6,041 37.3 58,971,709 16,444 27.9 117,114,739 19,966 17.0 25,559,879 4,574 17.9
2001 16,232,934 5,983 36.9 59,465,066 16,284 27.4 119,060,436 20,287 17.0 25,797,467 4,649 18.0
2002 16,287,999 6,134 37.7 60,046,068 16,686 27.8 120,913,207 20,358 16.8 26,005,326 4,543 17.5
2003 16,344,596 5,745 35.1 60,599,350 16,329 26.9 122,772,578 20,799 16.9 26,200,946 4,644 17.7
2004 16,518,068 5,724 34.7 61,003,240 16,401 26.9 124,762,848 20,510 16.4 26,337,518 4,355 16.5
2005 16,652,533 5,360 32.2 61,180,772 16,516 27.0 126,831,714 21,004 16.6 26,658,669 4,237 15.9
2006 16,996,219 5,270 31.0 61,527,219 16,237 26.4 128,907,361 20,152 15.6 26,884,798 4,064 15.1
2007 17,208,807 4,970 28.9 61,623,322 15,624 25.4 130,500,566 19,696 15.1 27,135,517 4,004 14.8
2008 17,314,417 4,046 23.4 61,990,546 13,696 22.1 131,908,058 17,868 13.5 27,521,034 3,739 13.6
2009 17,404,102 3,600 20.7 63,105,881 12,298 19.5 132,693,708 16,603 12.5 27,786,270 3,551 12.8

The rate of deaths per 100,000 people in 2009 peaked at age 19 for male drivers (16.4 per 100,000) and at age 18 for male passengers (8.1 per 100,000). Death rates peaked at age 18 for both female drivers (7.4 per 100,000) and for female passengers (6.6 per 100,000).

Deaths in passenger vehicles per 100,000 people by seating position, age, and gender, 2009

Deaths in passenger vehicles per 100,000 people by seating position, age, and gender, 2009
Age Male Female Total
Population Driver deaths Passenger deaths Population Driver deaths Passenger deaths Population Driver deaths* Passenger deaths*
Num Rate Num Rate Num Rate Num Rate Num Rate Num Rate
< 13 27,482,042 0 0.0 367 1.3 26,271,370 0 0.0 386 1.5 53,753,412 0 0.0 753 1.4
13 2,064,614 6 0.3 30 1.5 1,968,712 1 0.1 23 1.2 4,033,326 7 0.2 53 1.3
14 2,098,774 7 0.3 34 1.6 1,997,342 4 0.2 41 2.1 4,096,116 11 0.3 75 1.8
15 2,117,861 12 0.6 61 2.9 2,015,874 9 0.4 69 3.4 4,133,735 21 0.5 130 3.1
16 2,167,729 114 5.3 105 4.8 2,057,113 81 3.9 113 5.5 4,224,842 195 4.6 218 5.2
17 2,207,151 177 8.0 125 5.7 2,099,633 130 6.2 93 4.4 4,306,784 307 7.1 218 5.1
18 2,252,674 341 15.1 183 8.1 2,135,936 157 7.4 142 6.6 4,388,610 498 11.3 325 7.4
19 2,305,874 378 16.4 180 7.8 2,177,992 133 6.1 110 5.1 4,483,866 511 11.4 290 6.5
20-24 11,093,552 1,767 15.9 622 5.6 10,446,007 564 5.4 295 2.8 21,539,559 2,331 10.8 917 4.3
25-29 11,115,560 1,321 11.9 386 3.5 10,562,159 468 4.4 208 2.0 21,677,719 1,789 8.3 594 2.7
30-59 62,143,166 5,175 8.3 881 1.4 62,842,902 2,060 3.3 826 1.3 124,986,068 7,235 5.8 1,707 1.4
60-69 13,088,097 1,102 8.4 138 1.1 14,508,146 492 3.4 258 1.8 27,596,243 1,594 5.8 396 1.4
≥ 70 11,312,396 1,496 13.2 269 2.4 16,473,874 787 4.8 627 3.8 27,786,270 2,283 8.2 896 3.2
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

The rate of fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled in 2001-02 was highest at ages 16-17 for male drivers and at age 16 for female drivers. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. [Unpublished analysis of data from the US 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 2001-March 2002
Age Males Females Total*
Crash involvements Miles Rate Crash involvements Miles Rate Crash involvements Miles Rate
16 645 5,813,200,812 11.1 376 5,178,574,303 7.3 1,021 10,991,775,116 9.3
17 981 8,852,565,188 11.1 429 8,154,664,768 5.3 1,410 17,007,229,957 8.3
18 1,282 16,804,407,940 7.6 508 10,771,468,174 4.7 1,790 27,575,876,114 6.5
19 1,347 14,957,220,070 9.0 538 11,159,768,859 4.8 1,885 26,116,988,928 7.2
20-24 5,365 94,285,456,443 5.7 1,819 72,854,283,338 2.5 7,184 167,139,739,780 4.3
25-29 3,528 131,714,125,417 2.7 1,344 83,429,400,617 1.6 4,873 215,143,526,035 2.3
30-59 14,904 845,507,965,689 1.8 6,927 551,350,306,430 1.3 21,831 1396858272119 1.6
60-69 2,088 128,814,817,845 1.6 1,006 64,778,212,790 1.6 3,094 193,593,030,635 1.6
≥ 70 3,145 76,991,652,560 4.1 1,571 39,093,332,009 4.0 4,716 116,084,984,569 4.1
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

The rate of nighttime fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled in 2001-02 was almost 6 times higher for male drivers ages 16-19 than for male drivers ages 30-59. The corresponding comparison for females yields 3 times the rate. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. [Unpublished analysis of data from the US Department of Transportation's National Household Travel Survey, General Estimates System, and Fatality Analysis Reporting System]. Arlington, VA.

Nighttime (9pm-6am) fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements
per 100 million miles traveled by driver age and gender, April 2001-March 2002
Age Males Females
Crash involvements Miles Rate Crash involvements Miles Rate
16-19 1,753 6,868,242,230 25.5 558 5,288,492,858 10.6
20-29 4,387 34,863,762,486 12.6 1,021 16,250,031,866 6.3
30-59 4,659 100,198,843,583 4.6 1,499 42,841,189,821 3.5
60-69 334 8,575,497,349 3.9 97 3,894,479,517 2.5
≥ 70 243 3,451,274,299 7.0 73 1,370,058,296 5.3

When teenagers died

In 2009, June and August had the highest numbers of teenage crash deaths of any months.

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by month, 2009
Month Deaths %
January 274 8
February 220 6
March 267 8
April 287 8
May 311 9
June 333 10
July 329 9
August 332 10
September 288 8
October 279 8
November 291 8
December 255 7
Total 3,466 100

Fifty-five percent of motor vehicle crash deaths among teenagers in 2009 occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by day of week, 2009
Day of week Deaths %
Sunday 637 18
Monday 372 11
Tuesday 383 11
Wednesday 387 11
Thursday 432 13
Friday 536 16
Saturday 719 21
Total* 3,466 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths in 2009 occurred most frequently between 6pm and 9pm (18 percent), 9pm and midnight (17 percent), and midnight and 3am (16 percent).

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by time of day, 2009
Time of day Deaths %
Midnight-3am 558 16
3am-6am 329 10
6am-9am 289 8
9am-noon 219 6
noon-3pm 357 10
3pm-6pm 500 14
6pm-9pm 606 18
9pm-midnight 585 17
Total* 3,466 100
*Total includes other and/or unknowns

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). Peck, R.C; Gebers, M.A.; Voas, R.B.; and Romano, E. 2008. The relationship between blood alcohol concentration (BAC), age, and crash rise. Journal of Safety Research 39:311-19. The estimated percentage of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-17 who had BACs at or above 0.08 percent in 2009 was 14 percent, down 65 percent since 1982. Most of this decline took place in the 1980s. This age group experienced the greatest decline in alcohol involvement, compared with a 39 percent decline for drivers ages 18-20, a 16 percent decline for drivers ages 21-30, and a 31 percent decline for drivers older than 30.

Percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent by age, 1982-2009

Estimated percent and number of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent by age group, 1982-2009
Year Ages 16-17 Ages 18-20 Ages 21-30 Ages > 30
Drivers
killed
Estimated drivers killed with BAC ≥ 0.08 Drivers killed Estimated drivers killed with BAC ≥ 0.08 Drivers killed Estimated drivers killed with BAC ≥ 0.08 Drivers killed Estimated drivers killed with BAC ≥ 0.08
Num Num % Num Num % Num Num % Num Num %
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 6,412 3,885 61 10,337 3,860 37
1985 935 250 27 2,292 1,009 44 6,262 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 13,246 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 502 72 14 1,538 537 35 3,862 2,041 53 10,842 3,201 30

Fatally injured female teenage drivers were less likely than male teenage drivers in 2009 to have high BACs. Among fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-17, 17 percent of males and 10 percent of females in 2009 had BACs at or above 0.08 percent. Among fatally injured drivers ages 18-19, 35 percent of males and 24 percent of females had BACs at or above 0.08 percent.

Estimated percent and number of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent by gender and age, 2009
Age Male Female Total*
Drivers killed Estimated drivers killed with BAC ≥ 0.08 Drivers killed Estimated drivers killed with BAC ≥ 0.08 Drivers killed Estimated drivers killed with BAC ≥ 0.08
Num Num % Num Num % Num Num %
16-17 291 51 17 211 22 10 502 72 14
18-19 719 254 35 290 68 24 1,009 323 32
20 403 188 47 126 27 21 529 214 41
21-30 2,892 1,678 58 969 362 37 3,862 2,041 53
31-60 5,104 2,328 46 2,062 535 26 7,166 2,863 40
61-70 1,047 202 19 464 30 7 1,511 232 15
> 70 1,415 82 6 750 23 3 2,165 105 5
All ages* 11,902 4,788 40 4,887 1,071 22 16,791 5,861 35
*Total includes other and/or unknowns


References