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Motor vehicle fatal crash profiles of 13-15-year-olds

Williams, Allan F.; Tison, Julie
Journal of Safety Research
April 2012

Objective: The goal was to provide a description of fatal crashes involving 13-15-year-old drivers and passengers.
Methods: Information was obtained from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System for 2005-2009.
Results: The 1,994 passenger deaths during the 2005-2009 period far exceeded the number of driver deaths (299) or the number of drivers in fatal crashes (744). Passenger deaths occurring with teenage drivers, particularly 16-17-year-olds, increased with passenger age. Most 13-15-year-old drivers in crashes were driving either with no license or permit (63%), or with a permit but without required adult presence (10 percent). Fatal crashes involving illegal driving were most likely to involve high-risk actions such as speeding and nonuse of belts. Supervised learners were few in number (about 12 per year) and had the lowest rates of high-risk actions.
Conclusions: The main issues for 13-15-year-olds' motor vehicle deaths are passenger deaths and driving without a license or adult supervision.
Impact on industry: Parents, pediatricians, and others need to recognize the increase in motor vehicle occupant deaths that occurs in the early teen years.