Teen Driver Report – The States with the Most and Least Teenage Driving Fatalities
Each year, thousands of teens lose their lives in car crashes, and hundreds of thousands are treated in emergency departments for injuries related to motor vehicle crashes. For years, traffic crashes have been the #1 teenage killer in America.
But how do these statistics 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.
Note: Driving statistics takes time to collect. This report features the latest data released in 2022.
2020 sees a significant increase in teen deaths
On a broader level, the number of young driver road deaths has been steadily decreasing in the last since 1982 – although we can see that there has been a sharp increase in fatalities the first year of the pandemic. The number of young driver and passenger fatalities have increased by 19.5% compared to the previous year.
|Year||Total deaths||Young drivers (ages 15 to 20)||Passenger fatalities of young drivers|
What are the main causes of fatal teen driving accidents?
- Consumption of alcohol: Alcohol is completely banned for those under 21 years of age – despite this, young drivers’ consumption of alcohol remains a large cause of teenage traffic fatalities, with 523 teen drivers killed in DUI crashes in 2020. 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: A recent study from GHSA found that from 2015 to 2019, teen drivers and passengers had a greater proportion of speeding-related fatalities (43%) than all other age groups (30%), with 4,930 teen drivers and passengers dying in speeding-related crashes.
- Distracted driving: Distracted driving is defined as driving while doing another activity that takes your attention away from driving. Due to the nature of being less focused on driving, distracted driving will drastically increase the chance of being involved in a motor vehicle crash. Speaking on a mobile phone while driving increases crash risk by 2 times, while texting increases the crash risk by up to 6 times.
|State||Impaired/Drunk Driving||Distracted Driving|
|District of Columbia||0||1|
The states with the most teenagers killed in traffic accidents
Kentucky has the most teenage driving fatalities in the country, with 71.45 deaths per 100,000 teenage drivers.
The second worst state is North Carolina (45.34), followed by Arkansas (45.12), Montana (44.08), Mississippi (41.89), New Mexico (40.86), Louisiana (35.22), Arizona (32.79), Texas (31.77), and Florida (31.11).
The complete list of teenage traffic fatalities, by state
|States||Male Teen Drivers Killed in Crashes||Female Teen Drivers Killed in Crashes||Total Teenage Drivers Killed in Crashes||Teen Driver Fatalities per 100,000 Licensed 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 and reducing the number of teenagers killed in driving accidents.
Most of the injury data has been gathered using the NHTSA crash data tool, and the Fatality and Injury Reporting System (FIRST). To find the number of licensed teen drivers, we looked at data from the Federal Highway Administration.
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