Crash Statistics: The Ugly Side of Driving

We want to share some crash statistics with that have a direct bearing on novice drivers. These are the statistics that we at Pacific Driver Education want to change. Education and awareness are the keys to make the necessary changes in behavior and attitude. Review the statistics with your young driver and let the reality of them sink in. Then get into a discussion with your young driver about how they plan to make shifts in their driving behavior. Now the stats:

  • Teen driver crashes are the leading cause of death for our nation’s youth. Most of these crashes are caused by inexperience or distractions, not "thrill-seeking" or deliberate risk-taking.
  • In the National Young Driver Survey, 20 percent of 11th grade drivers reported at least one crash over the past year, while nearly 3 percent experienced two or more crashes.
  • In 2009 3,500 teen agers lost their lives in a crash.
  • Crashes are more common among young drivers than any other age group. In the United States, 1 in 4 crash fatalities involve someone 16 to 24 years old, nearly twice as high as other age groups.
  • The fatality rate for drivers ages 16 to 19, based on miles driven, is four times higher than for drivers ages 25 to 69.
  • The crash fatality rate is highest for 16- to 17-year-olds within the first six months after licensure — and remains high through age 24.
  • 60% of teenage passenger deaths in 2009 occurred in vehicles driven by other teens.
  • Child passengers (under age 16) driven by teenagers (ages 16 to 19) have three times the risk of injury in a crash than children driven by adults. Overall, 9 percent of child fatalities occur with a driver under age 19.
  • Older child passengers, ages 12 to 17, are more likely to die in a car crash than younger children. This risk increases with each teenage year. The top three predictors for fatality are nonuse of restraints, teen drivers and roads with speed limits of 45 mph or higher. (Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, March 2008)

What can you do besides talking with your son or daughter? Maybe enrolling them in a traffic safety course would help. But don’t overlook the value of your teaching skills and a clear expression of your expectations.