US Teenage Road Fatalities Report | Zutobi Drivers Ed

US Teenage Road Fatalities Report

by Zutobi · Updated Dec 20, 2021

Each year, thousands of road deaths can be attributed to teen drivers aged 13-19, and motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for U.S. teens. In 2018, approximately 2,500 teens lost their lives in car crashes, and about 285,000 teens were treated in emergency departments for injuries related to motor vehicle crashes. But how do these numbers look at a state level? 

We’ve crunched the numbers and looked at things such as DUI, speeding, and road deaths. We then ranked each state from best-to-worst. 

Comparing teen road fatalities between different states

In 2019, Texas had the most teenage road deaths in the United States, followed by California and Florida. This is not surprising given their large populations. The number of teenage road deaths were 272, 194, and 161 respectively. The data by the NHTSA also shows Wyoming, Nevada, and Massachusetts as the states with the least number of total teen road deaths.

If we, however, look at teen road fatalities based on fatalities per 100,000 teens within each state, the statistics look completely different. The data shows that California is among the safest states for teens to drive in (with 7.66 deaths per 100,000 teens), with Texas (13.25) and Florida (13.49) also not standing out in this category. 

Montana instead appears to be the most dangerous for teen drivers to drive in with 32.84 road deaths per 100,000 teens, followed by Wyoming (27.39) and South Dakota (25.98).

On the other end of the spectrum, we have found that Massachusetts appears to be the safest state in the United States for teen drivers with just 2.89 deaths per 100,000 teens, then New York (4.34), followed by Washington (5.58).

How does this look across the entire United States? 

On a broader level, the number of young driver road deaths have been steadily decreasing the last 20 years.

Causes of teen accidents

  • Consumption of alcohol: alcohol is completely banned for those under 21 years of age – despite this, 23.65% of young drivers (aged 15 to 21) who were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2018 had some amount of alcohol in their system. Young drivers’ consumption of alcohol remains a large cause of teenage highway fatalities, according to NHTSA. 

    The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has gathered several studies on the subject of teens’ alcohol consumption that together show that more young people die in fatal crashes when the drinking age is lowered.
  • Speeding: Driving too fast for the conditions is something every driver should avoid, but this is especially important when it comes to teen drivers. Their lack of experience makes speeding very dangerous as they are less prone to foresee hazards, react to hazards, and know how to act in different types of driving emergencies. Statistics show that almost ⅓ (31%) of young males involved in fatal crashes were speeding. For young females, the same number is 19%.

US states with the highest fatality rate per 100,000 teens

How can this be improved?

Studies have shown that teenage drivers are much more likely to be involved in a serious road accident from the moment they start driving without the supervision of a licensed driver. Many of these accidents can be attributed to distracted driving, speeding, and lack of scanning. This suggests a changed behavior when driving alone, which may be due to overconfidence and insufficient (or bad) driver education, among other reasons.

Teenage drivers need to understand the reason why they must follow driving safety practices, not just the fact that they exist. Furthermore, teenage drivers should study to become safe and responsible drivers, not just to pass the permit test. Unfortunately, it’s often the other way around.

Creating a proper foundation at an early stage is pivotal when it comes to making safe drivers. This can be achieved with scientifically proven learning methods, such as illustrations and videos, in combination with a heavy focus on learning driving theory. 


Teenager’s Driving Statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been used to find statistical data. Alcohol traffic statistics have also been gathered from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) . 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is an agency of the U.S. federal government, further helps reinforce young driver statistics by providing data on young drivers involved in fatal crashes. In addition, data has been analyzed for every state in regards to its teen population and teenage fatalities on the road.

The data acquired using the CDC restricts states with fewer than 10 total road deaths to protect privacy.

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