Teens have higher fatality and injury rates in motor vehicle crashes than any other age group.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States.
In 2004, 7,898 15- to 20-year-old drivers were involved in fatal crashes. Driver fatalities for this age group increased by 5 percent between 1994 and 2004. For young males, driver fatalities rose by 1 percent, compared with a 15-percent increase for young females.
In 2003, 5,240 teens were killed in passenger-vehicle crashes, and 458,000 teens were injured.
In 2003, the fatality rate (per 100,000 population) in motor vehicle crashes for 16-to-20 year-olds was more than twice the rate than for all other ages combined (25.7 versus 11.4 respectively).
From 1997 to 2003, the fatality rate (per 100,000 population) in motor vehicle crashes for 16-to-20-year-olds was approximately seven times the rate for 8-to-15-year-old .
During 2003, a teen died in a traffic crash an average of once every hour on weekends and nearly once every two hours during the week.
In 2003, 34 percent (1,782) of fatally injured teens were completely or partially ejected from a passenger vehicle, compared with 27 percent of those fatally injured for all ages combined .
Male teens are less likely to wear safety belts than female teens. In 2003, a greater number of males (7.7 percent) reported they were likely to rarely or never use safety belts when driving compared with females (2.8 percent). More males (26.4 percent) than females (23.6 percent) also reported that they had not worn their safety belts within the past week.
Drivers are less likely to use seatbelts when they have been drinking. In 2003, 65 percent of the young drivers (15 to 20 years old) of passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes who had been drinking were unrestrained. Of the young drivers who had been drinking and were killed in crashes, 74 percent were unrestrained.
NHTSA Report – Teenagers and Seatbelt Use Sixty-three percent of the fatally injured 16-to-20-year-old passenger vehicle occupants were not wearing seatbelts, compared to 55 percent for adults 21 or older.