Fatality Facts 2019Teenagers

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 [Unpublished analysis of April 1, 2016 - March 31, 2017 data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Household Travel Survey, General Estimates System, and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 March 2021.

Passenger vehicle occupants

In 2019, 61 percent of deaths among passenger vehicle occupants ages 16-19 were drivers.

Teenage passenger vehicle occupant deaths by age and seating position, 2019
AgeDriver PassengerTotal*
Number%Number%Number%
13 00 47 100 47 100
14 6 8 70 92 76 100
15 20 17 98 83 118 100
16 107 45 132 55 239 100
17 188 58 136 42 326 100
18 315 64 177 36 493 100
19 374 68 174 32 549 100
Total 1,010 55 834 45 1,848 100

In 2019, 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, 13 percent occurred when a teenager was driving.

Passenger vehicle passenger deaths by passenger age and driver age, 2019
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 28 5 72 12 112 18 367 60 21 3 9 1 2<1 611
13-19 479 57 135 16 29 3 166 20 10 1 5 1 10 1 834
20-24 105 15 328 46 129 18 127 18 7 1 4 1 11 2 711
25-29 19 4 110 23 162 34 166 35 10 2 4 1 7 1 478
30-59 57 4 103 7 203 13 1,010 64 130 8 47 3 16 1 1,566
60-69 8 2 16 4 22 5 153 37 141 34 73 18 3 1 416
70+ 7 1 12 1 20 2 210 22 178 19 531 55 3<1 961
Unknown 00 2 22 2 22 2 220000 3 33 9
All ages 703 13 778 14 679 12 2,201 39 497 9 673 12 55 1 5,586

In 2019, belt use among fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers age 16 (58 percent), 17 (51 percent), 18 (48 percent) and 19 (48 percent) was higher than among fatally injured drivers ages 20-59 (43 percent), but similar to that among drivers 60 and older combined (64 percent). Among fatally injured 16-19 year-old occupants, belt use among passengers (31 percent) was considerably lower than among drivers (50 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, 2019
AgeDrivers Passengers
Belt used Unbelted Unknown Belt used Unbelted Unknown
Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%Number%
13000000 21 45 18 38 8 17
14 3 50 3 5000 25 36 39 56 6 9
15 13 65 6 30 1 5 38 39 44 45 16 16
16 62 58 35 33 10 9 35 27 81 61 16 12
17 95 51 77 41 16 9 38 28 84 62 14 10
18 151 48 140 44 24 8 54 31 103 58 20 11
19 181 48 155 41 38 10 64 37 94 54 16 9
20-24 765 41 906 48 198 11 232 33 391 55 88 12
25-29 661 37 930 53 177 10 163 34 259 54 56 12
30-59 3,281 45 3,382 46 614 8 629 40 776 50 161 10
60-69 1,171 58 710 35 148 7 237 57 142 34 37 9
70+ 1,923 68 733 26 164 6 679 71 214 22 68 7

Among passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-19 involved in fatal crashes in 2019, 40 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, 2019
Single vehicle Multiple vehicleAll crashes
Number%Number%Number%
16-19 1,083 40 1,631 60 2,714 100
20-24 1,951 41 2,862 59 4,813 100
25-29 1,776 38 2,840 62 4,616 100
30-59 6,737 36 11,787 64 18,524 100
60-69 1,540 35 2,843 65 4,383 100
70+ 1,375 30 3,216 70 4,591 100

Population and mileage rates

From 1975 to 2019, the rate of passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 people declined by 66 percent for teenagers ages 16-19 (from 47.6 to 16.1), 49 percent for people ages 20-34 (from 38.7 to 19.7), 35 percent for people ages 35-69 (from 20.5 to 13.4), and 19 percent for people 70 and older (from 15.4 to 12.5). The teenage passenger vehicle driver fatal crash involvement rate fell for the third year in a row, and was 4% lower than the rate in 2018.

Passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes per 100,000 people by age group, 1975-2019
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 2,84416.8 67,571,35313,99120.7 142,269,11619,29813.6 35,344,300 4,55012.9
2019 16,879,111 2,71416.1 67,573,26113,31219.7 142,437,58419,02413.4 36,603,262 4,59112.5

The rate of deaths per 100,000 people in 2019 peaked at ages 20-24 for male drivers (12.1) and at age 19 for male passengers (4.8). Death rates peaked at age 19 for female drivers (5.1) and at age 18 for female passengers (3.6).

Deaths in passenger vehicles per 100,000 people by seating position, age and sex, 2019

Deaths in passenger vehicles per 100,000 people by seating position, age and sex, 2019
Age Male FemaleTotal
PopulationDriver deathsPassenger deathsPopulationDriver deathsPassenger deathsPopulationDriver deathsPassenger deaths
NumberRateNumberRateNumberRateNumberRateNumberRateNumberRate
<13 26,691,603 0 0.0 289 1.1 25,539,563 0 0.0 321 1.3 52,231,166 0 0.0 610 1.2
13 2,132,987 0 0.0 20 0.9 2,042,234 0 0.0 27 1.3 4,175,221 0 0.0 47 1.1
14 2,125,640 4 0.2 43 2.0 2,038,819 2 0.1 27 1.3 4,164,459 6 0.1 70 1.7
15 2,129,720 12 0.6 53 2.5 2,045,739 8 0.4 45 2.2 4,175,459 20 0.5 98 2.3
16 2,116,165 70 3.3 75 3.5 2,034,255 37 1.8 57 2.8 4,150,420 107 2.6 132 3.2
17 2,112,553 129 6.1 81 3.8 2,029,872 58 2.9 55 2.7 4,142,425 187 4.5 136 3.3
18 2,172,385 214 9.9 101 4.6 2,083,442 101 4.8 76 3.6 4,255,827 315 7.4 177 4.2
19 2,214,784 267 12.1 106 4.8 2,115,655 107 5.1 68 3.2 4,330,439 374 8.6 174 4.0
20-24 11,064,752 1,344 12.1 410 3.7 10,568,188 521 4.9 298 2.8 21,632,940 1,865 8.6 708 3.3
25-29 12,004,570 1,242 10.3 256 2.1 11,504,446 522 4.5 221 1.9 23,509,016 1,764 7.5 477 2.0
30-59 62,961,145 5,269 8.4 797 1.3 63,881,597 2,002 3.1 767 1.2 126,842,742 7,271 5.7 1,564 1.2
60-69 18,056,503 1,437 8.0 151 0.8 19,969,644 592 3.0 264 1.3 38,026,147 2,029 5.3 415 1.1
70+ 15,874,517 1,900 12.0 298 1.9 20,728,745 918 4.4 662 3.2 36,603,262 2,818 7.7 960 2.6

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 sex, 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 sex, 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 2019, teenage crash deaths occurred most often in June.

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by month, 2019
MonthDeaths%
January 159 7
February 136 6
March 191 8
April 176 7
May 226 10
June 249 10
July 223 9
August 213 9
September 191 8
October 212 9
November 217 9
December 182 8
Total 2,375 100

Fifty-two percent of motor vehicle crash deaths among teenagers in 2019 occurred on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by day of week, 2019
Day of weekDeaths%
Sunday 438 18
Monday 265 11
Tuesday 287 12
Wednesday 316 13
Thursday 277 12
Friday 356 15
Saturday 436 18
Total 2,375 100

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths in 2019 occurred most frequently from 9 p.m. to midnight (18 percent), followed closely by the time between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., and between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. (both 15 percent).

Teenage motor vehicle crash deaths by time of day, 2019
Time of dayDeaths%
Midnight - 3 a.m. 298 13
3 a.m. - 6 a.m. 207 9
6 a.m. - 9 a.m. 233 10
9 a.m. - noon 171 7
Noon - 3 p.m. 292 12
3 p.m. - 6 p.m. 360 15
6 p.m. - 9 p.m. 359 15
9 p.m. - midnight 434 18
Total* 2,375 100

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 2019 was 17 percent, down 59 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 (60 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, 1982-2019

Estimated percent and number of fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers with BACs ≥ 0.08 percent by age group, 1982-2019
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 355 53 15 1,084 236 22 3,962 1,674 42 11,829 2,989 25
2019 295 50 17 1,028 234 23 3,613 1,530 42 11,811 2,949 25

Among fatally injured teenage drivers in 2019, females were less likely than males to have high BACs. Among fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-17, 19 percent of males and 13 percent of females had BACs at or above 0.08 percent. Among fatally injured drivers ages 18-19, 23 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 sex and age, 2019
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%
16-17 199 37 19 95 12 13 295 50 17
18-19 481 111 23 208 36 17 689 147 21
20 231 62 27 107 24 22 339 87 26
21-30 2,568 1,172 46 1,038 355 34 3,613 1,530 42
31-60 5,191 1,934 37 1,951 472 24 7,148 2,408 34
61-70 1,408 280 20 610 68 11 2,018 348 17
>70 1,794 149 8 849 43 5 2,645 192 7
All ages* 11,896 3,750 32 4,868 1,010 21 16,783 4,768 28