Fatality Facts 2017Teenagers

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. 2018. [Unpublished analysis of 2017 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Household Travel Survey, General Estimates System, and Fatality Analysis Reporting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 2018.

Passenger vehicle occupants

In 2017, 60 percent of deaths among passenger vehicle occupants ages 16-19 were drivers.

Teenage passenger vehicle occupant deaths by age and seating position, 2017
AgeDriver PassengerTotal*
Number%Number%Number%
13 1 2 45 98 46 100
14 5 7 68 93 73 100
15 25 18 110 81 136 100
16 165 50 164 50 330 100
17 210 55 167 44 379 100
18 354 64 200 36 556 100
19 379 66 187 33 570 100
Total 1,139 54 941 45 2,090 100

In 2017, 53 percent of the deaths of teenage passengers in passenger vehicles occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager. Among deaths of passengers of all ages, 13 percent occurred when a teenager was driving.

Passenger vehicle passenger deaths by passenger age and driver age, 2017
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 44 6 73 11 163 24 364 54 20 3 8 1 5 1 677
13-19 503 53 211 22 34 4 166 18 11 1 2<1 14 1 941
20-24 115 14 430 53 139 17 116 14 2<1 1<1 12 1 815
25-29 16 3 122 23 202 38 174 33 7 1 2<1 3 1 526
30-59 61 4 141 9 223 13 1,058 64 117 7 43 3 13 1 1,656
60-69 15 4 11 3 16 4 175 42 137 33 59 14 3 1 416
70+ 6 1 17 2 13 1 230 24 179 19 503 5300 948
Unknown 00 5 2600 7 37 1 5 1 5 5 26 19
All ages 760 13 1,010 17 790 13 2,290 38 474 8 619 10 55 1 5,998

In 2017, belt use among fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers age 16 (58 percent), 17 (47 percent) and 18 (51 percent) was higher than among fatally injured drivers age 19 (43 percent) and those ages 20-59 (43 percent), but lower than among drivers 60 and older combined (63 percent). Among fatally injured 16-19 year-old occupants, belt use among passengers (36 percent) was considerably lower than among drivers (49 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, 2017
AgeDrivers Passengers
Belt used Unbelted Unknown Belt used Unbelted Unknown
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
13 1 1000000 20 44 18 40 7 16
14 1 20 3 60 1 20 32 47 30 44 6 9
15 9 36 14 56 2 8 38 35 53 48 19 17
16 95 58 66 40 4 2 60 37 86 52 18 11
17 99 47 97 46 14 7 58 35 90 54 19 11
18 181 51 137 39 36 10 73 36 102 51 25 12
19 164 43 174 46 41 11 68 36 98 52 21 11
20-24 871 41 1,048 50 194 9 279 34 432 53 104 13
25-29 693 36 1,047 54 200 10 177 34 282 54 67 13
30-59 3,476 45 3,522 46 659 9 666 40 820 50 170 10
60-69 1,180 58 703 35 137 7 262 63 115 28 39 9
70+ 1,831 66 753 27 190 7 697 74 185 20 66 7

Among passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-19 involved in fatal crashes in 2017, 43 percent were involved in single-vehicle crashes. This was higher than for drivers ages 25 and older (36 percent).

Passenger vehicle drivers in fatal crashes by age and crash type, 2017
Single vehicle Multiple vehicleAll crashes
Number%Number%Number%
16-19 1,251 43 1,680 57 2,931 100
20-24 2,208 42 3,107 58 5,315 100
25-29 1,988 40 2,957 60 4,945 100
30-59 6,918 36 12,099 64 19,017 100
60-69 1,456 34 2,810 66 4,266 100
70+ 1,369 31 3,107 69 4,476 100

Population and mileage rates

From 1975 to 2017, the rate of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 people declined by 64 percent for teenagers ages 16-19 (from 47.6 to 17.2), 45 percent for people ages 20-34 (from 38.7 to 21.1), 34 percent for people ages 35-69 (from 20.5 to 13.6), and 14 percent for people 70 and older (from 15.4 to 13.2). The teenage passenger vehicle driver fatal crash involvement rate fell in 2017 for the first time since 2013, and was 4% lower than the rate in 2016.

Passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 people by age group, 1975-2017
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 2,93117.2 67,461,30714,22821.1 142,082,36119,31513.6 34,022,298 4,47613.2

The rate of deaths per 100,000 people in 2017 peaked at ages 20-24 for male drivers (13.5) and at age 18 for male passengers (5.1). Death rates peaked at ages 18 and 19 for female drivers (5.4) and at age 18 for female passengers (4.3).

Deaths in passenger vehicles per 100,000 people by seating position, age and gender, 2017

Deaths in passenger vehicles per 100,000 people by seating position, age and gender, 2017
Age Male FemaleTotal
PopulationDriver deathsPassenger deathsPopulationDriver deathsPassenger deathsPopulationDriver deathsPassenger deaths
NumberRateNumberRateNumberRateNumberRateNumberRateNumberRate
<13 26,944,870 0 0.0 353 1.3 25,794,062 0 0.0 324 1.3 52,738,932 0 0.0 677 1.3
13 2,119,558 1 0.0 21 1.0 2,035,757 0 0.0 24 1.2 4,155,315 1 0.0 45 1.1
14 2,104,753 3 0.1 33 1.6 2,022,552 2 0.1 35 1.7 4,127,305 5 0.1 68 1.6
15 2,098,809 16 0.8 56 2.7 2,015,751 9 0.4 54 2.7 4,114,560 25 0.6 110 2.7
16 2,155,909 100 4.6 100 4.6 2,066,782 65 3.1 64 3.1 4,222,691 165 3.9 164 3.9
17 2,197,871 149 6.8 102 4.6 2,098,704 61 2.9 65 3.1 4,296,575 210 4.9 167 3.9
18 2,169,468 242 11.2 110 5.1 2,071,758 111 5.4 90 4.3 4,241,226 353 8.3 200 4.7
19 2,178,434 266 12.2 103 4.7 2,078,174 113 5.4 84 4.0 4,256,608 379 8.9 187 4.4
20-24 11,349,142 1,536 13.5 458 4.0 10,769,493 576 5.3 357 3.3 22,118,635 2,112 9.5 815 3.7
25-29 11,902,230 1,424 12.0 310 2.6 11,468,230 516 4.5 216 1.9 23,370,460 1,940 8.3 526 2.3
30-59 63,065,108 5,482 8.7 832 1.3 64,165,382 2,172 3.4 824 1.3 127,230,490 7,654 6.0 1,656 1.3
60-69 17,487,151 1,411 8.1 150 0.9 19,336,932 609 3.1 266 1.4 36,824,083 2,020 5.5 416 1.1
70+ 14,634,816 1,859 12.7 313 2.1 19,387,482 915 4.7 635 3.3 34,022,298 2,774 8.2 948 2.8

The rate of fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled in 2017 was highest at ages 16-19 for male drivers and at ages 80 and over for female drivers. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 2018. [Unpublished analysis of 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, 2017
AgeMale FemaleTotal*
Crash involvementsMilesRateCrash involvementsMilesRateCrash involvementsMilesRate
16-19 1,975 31,732,691,896 6.2 951 30,677,731,652 3.1 2,928 62,410,423,548 4.7
20-24 3,656 89,913,330,623 4.1 1,645 82,245,489,504 2.0 5,304 172,158,820,127 3.1
25-29 3,372 97,584,235,223 3.5 1,553 115,903,021,775 1.3 4,925 213,487,256,997 2.3
30-59 12,822 785,270,175,131 1.6 6,103 558,224,868,022 1.1 18,934 1,343,495,043,154 1.4
60-69 2,912 207,918,951,320 1.4 1,344 136,711,746,704 1.0 4,256 344,630,698,024 1.2
70-79 1,810 85,010,352,002 2.1 918 54,430,675,479 1.7 2,728 139,441,027,481 2.0
80+ 1,187 19,674,241,353 6.0 555 12,308,938,944 4.5 1,742 31,983,180,297 5.4

The rate of nighttime fatal passenger vehicle crash involvements per 100 million miles traveled in 2017 was almost 3 times higher for male drivers ages 16-19 than for male drivers ages 30-59. The corresponding comparison for females yields just over double the rate. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. 2018. [Unpublished analysis of 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, 2017
AgeMale Female
Crash involvementsMilesRateCrash involvementsMilesRate
16-19 741 4,931,226,605 15.0 286 2,916,766,045 9.8
20-24 1,683 12,749,476,470 13.2 613 11,332,793,419 5.4
25-29 1,541 12,346,988,856 12.5 543 6,306,786,823 8.6
30-59 4,301 79,775,321,852 5.4 1,472 35,496,839,100 4.1
60-69 579 15,786,500,196 3.7 182 7,501,060,309 2.4
70+ 308 4,365,410,112 7.1 110 1,972,194,094 5.6

When teenagers died

In 2017, teenage crash deaths occurred most often in July. October and August also saw elevated crash deaths among teens.

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by month, 2017
MonthDeaths%
January 197 7
February 167 6
March 215 8
April 206 8
May 251 9
June 236 9
July 272 10
August 260 10
September 220 8
October 267 10
November 219 8
December 224 8
Total 2,734 100

Fifty-one percent of motor vehicle crash deaths among teenagers in 2017 occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by day of week, 2017
Day of weekDeaths%
Sunday 478 18
Monday 346 13
Tuesday 317 12
Wednesday 341 13
Thursday 347 13
Friday 399 15
Saturday 506 19
Total 2,734 100

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths in 2017 occurred most frequently from 9 p.m. to midnight (17 percent), followed closely by the time between 6 and 9 p.m. (16 percent) and between 3 and 6 p.m. (16 percent).

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by time of day, 2017
Time of dayDeaths%
Midnight - 3 a.m. 356 13
3 a.m. - 6 a.m. 264 10
6 a.m. - 9 a.m. 243 9
9 a.m. - noon 173 6
Noon - 3 p.m. 312 11
3 p.m. - 6 p.m. 444 16
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. 442 16
9 p.m. - midnight 474 17
Total* 2,734 100

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 2017 was 13 percent, down 68 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 56 percent decline for drivers ages 18-20, a 33 percent decline for drivers ages 21-30, and a 42 percent decline for drivers older than 30.

Percent of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent by age, 1982-2017

Estimated percent and number of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent by age group, 1982-2017
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 50 13 1,100 279 25 4,021 1,696 42 12,116 3,029 25

Among fatally injured teenage drivers in 2017, females were less likely than males to have high BACs. Among fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-17, 15 percent of males and 10 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, 2017
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%
16-17 249 38 15 126 12 10 375 50 13
18-19 508 124 24 224 38 17 733 162 22
20 252 92 36 114 26 23 367 118 32
21-30 2,949 1,334 45 1,071 362 34 4,021 1,696 42
31-60 5,423 2,023 37 2,143 486 23 7,568 2,509 33
61-70 1,346 270 20 602 55 9 1,948 325 17
>70 1,742 150 9 858 46 5 2,600 196 8
All ages* 12,500 4,037 32 5,151 1,026 20 17,662 5,065 29