TABLE 2-1 Cumulative Total Deaths from Motor Vehicle Crashes Involving Teen Drivers, 2003 to 2012

Age Group

Projected Cumulative Number of Deaths

16 to 17

20, 896

18 to 19

27, 689

20 to 24

54, 830


103, 415

NOTE: Analysis based on calculations from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 2003 data.

SOURCE: Winston (2006).

men. Moreover, the proportionate mortality rates—that is, the number of vehicle crash deaths divided by the number of all deaths among 16- to 19-year-olds—are 36.5 percent for young men and 46.5 percent for young women (D’Angelo, 2006). The high mortality rates for young drivers (ages 15 to 20) have persisted over the past decade, with an increase of 5 percent between 1994 and 2004. During this same time period, driver fatalities rose by 1 percent among young male drivers, compared with a 15 percent increase for young women, according to data presented by Richard Compton (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2006a).

Injuries are another significant component of the problem—303,000 young people ages 15 to 20 were injured in crashes in 2004, many of them very seriously (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 2006a). Moreover, these numbers do not include deaths or injuries of thousands of other nonteenage drivers, passengers, or pedestrians that occur as a result of crashes caused by teenage drivers (American Automobile Association, 2006).

From a public health perspective, motor vehicle crashes are among the most serious problems facing teenagers. Studies by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety indicate that teen drivers are overrepresented in road crashes, with a higher per-mile collision rate than older drivers (American Automobile Association, 2006). From an economic perspective, these crashes also impose an enormous cost to society. It is estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that the 2002 cost of crashes involving drivers ages 15 to 20 was $40.8 billion (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, 2006). This information can provide a useful

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