• September 3rd, 2019

From 2007 to 2016, fatalities of young drivers (15-20 years old) have declined by nearly 40% (NCSA, 2018). Despite that large reduction, overall, young drivers are still overrepresented in motor vehicle crashes. While these crashes are devastating for the teen drivers and their families, it is also important to understand the impact that these crashes have on other individuals. A previous AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report examined the proportion of other people who died in crashes in 2013 involving a teen driver (ages 15 to 19) including passengers, occupants of other vehicles and nonmotorists (i.e., pedestrians and cyclists) (Tefft, 2015). That study’s findings revealed that teen drivers accounted for 34% of all fatalities related to teen crashes, while passengers accounted for 27%, occupants of other vehicles 29% and nonmotorists 10%. This underscores the important impact that these crashes have on individuals other than the teen drivers themselves.

The present study uses 2016 data to update and expand on these findings by assessing the rate of fatalities for different individuals involved in a teen driver crash. Overall results show that there were roughly 1,053,000 crashes of all levels of severity involving a teen driver. These crashes involved approximately 2,864,000 individuals. Of these crashes, there were 3,270 deaths, yielding an overall fatality rate of 11.4 fatal injuries per 10,000 individuals involved.

Nonmotorists including pedestrians and cyclists showed the most dramatic likelihood of dying when involved in a teen crash, with nearly 4 deaths per 100 nonmotorists involved. When stratifying the rates of fatality by various risk factors, speeding resulted in about 35 deaths per 10,000 individuals involved in a teen driver crash, while nighttime driving resulted in 32 deaths per 10,000 individuals involved. Further, nearly 3 in 10 nonmotorists involved in a speeding-related teen driver crash died in 2016 and nearly 1 in 10 nonmotorists died in a teen driver-related crash that occurred at night.