Sometimes fear can be a good thing, especially if it motivates you to take a few extra precautions to ensure your teen’s safety and help save the lives of others. So to that goal, here are some teen driving statistics that are assured to scare the crap out of parents:

Teen driving statistic #1: The number one killer of U.S. teenagers is car crashes. Around 4,000 to 6,000 teen drivers are killed every year in auto accidents. Driving causes more fatalities among this age group than guns and drug overdoses combined. On an average day in the U.S., more than 11 teens will die in car crashes.

Teen driving statistic #2: In addition to the deaths, there are around 350,000 annual injuries from car crashes among 15- to 19-year-olds. (IIHS Teenager Fatality Facts, 2008)

Teen driving statistic #3: Drivers ages 16 to 19 have a fatality rate 4-times as high as that among drivers aged 25 to 29.

Teen driving statistic #4: The risk is highest for 16-year-olds, who have a crash rate nearly twice as high as that of 18- and 19-year-olds, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The danger is often greatest during the first few months of driving alone, when teens are no longer under the watchful eye of mom or dad.

Teen driving statistic #5: Boys crash at about 1.5 times the rate of girls, yet girls are more likely to text while driving (80% vs. 58%). (Mahoney, 2009)

Teen driving statistic #6: Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three-times as many fatal crashes. (Alcindor, 2012)

Teen driving statistic #7: Young people ages 15 to 24 are 14% of the population, yet they account for 30% (around $19 billion) of the medical and accident related costs incurred by males, and 28% (around $7 billion) of the costs incurred among females, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. (Eversley, 2012)

Teen driving statistic #8: In a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 15% of students who reported that they had at least one car crash considered sleepiness the main cause. (Marcus, 8-12-2010)

Teen driving statistic #9: A recent survey in 20016 by Liberty Mutual Insurance & Students Against Destructive Decisions found alarming rates of drowsy driving in teens: more than 1/2 reported nodding off or nearly falling asleep behind the wheel. More than 61% of parents assume their teens get enough sleep, 52% average less than 6 hours a night during the week.

Teen driving statistic #10: Of 800 teens recently surveyed by the Pew Research Center, a whopping 40% said they’ve been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger. (Mindful, April 2013, p. 22)

Teen driving statistic #11: Cars carrying two teens are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal crash as those with a single driver, and cars with three or more teens have five times the crash rate. (Mahoney, 2009) In 2010, 59% of teenage passenger deaths occurred in vehicles that had another teen behind the wheel.

Teen driving statistic #12: The hundred deadliest days for teen drivers and teen passengers are between Memorial Day and Labor Day. From 2005 to 2009, an average of 422 teens died in each summer month, compared with an average of 303 over the non-summer months. One reason is that teens spend 44% more hours driving during the summer, according to a study from Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions. This often includes more “purposeless trips,” and more partying during the summer months when school is out can also lead to more drinking and driving. (Painter, 6-7-2011)

Teen driving statistic #13: Twenty-five percent of all 15- to 20-year-old drivers killed in crashes were alcohol impaired. Seventy-three percent of those killed were not wearing seatbelts. (Copeland, 10-19-2010)

Teen driving statistic #14: Less teens are getting their driver’s license than in years past. In 2010, 28% of 16-year-olds had driver’s licenses, compared with 44% in 1980, according to research by the U.S. Department of Transportation and the University of Michigan. The same trend follows for older teens:

  1. 17-year-olds: The number of licensed teens dropped from 66% to 45%
  2. 18-year-olds: The number of licensed teens dropped from 75% to 61%
  3. 19-year-olds: The number of licensed teens dropped from 80% to 70%

Two trends are attributed to this decrease:

  • The rise of the Internet and social media is making driving less of a priority for teens, and
  • GDL programs are making it harder for teens to get a license, reducing the number of licensed teens. (Alcindor, 2012)

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