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Missouri Department of Transportation

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Young Driver Facts 

  • Young drivers (under 21) are overrepresented in traffic crashes in proportion to the number of licensed drivers. Young drivers (under 21) comprise 10 percent of the licensed drivers and are involved in 30 percent of the traffic crashes.
  • A total of 185 people were killed and 17,247 were injured in traffic crashes involving a young driver in 2007.
  • One person was killed or injured every 30 minutes in a traffic crash involving a young driver.
  • Results of a 2008 survey among teens in the state revealed a 62 percent safety belt usage rate. The overall statewide safety belt usage rate is 76 percent.

There are three factors that contribute to traffic crashes for this age group:

  • Inexperience: All young drivers start out with very little knowledge or understanding of the complexities of driving a motor vehicle. Like any other skill, learning to drive well takes a lot of time. Technical ability, good judgment and experience all are needed to make the many decisions that add up to safe driving.
  • Risk-taking behavior and immaturity: Adolescent impulsiveness is a natural behavior that can result in poor driving judgment and participation in high-risk behaviors. Peer pressure also often encourages risk taking.
  • Greater risk exposure: Young drivers often drive at night with other friends in the vehicle. During night driving, reaction time is slower since the driver can only see as far as the headlights allow. Driving with young, exuberant passengers usually poses a situation of distraction from the driving task. More teen fatal crashes occur when passengers - usually other teenagers - are in the car.
More information on young drivers

• Safety Tips


Young Drivers  ~  Safety Belts  ~  Impaired Driving  ~  Traffic Safety Grants

About Highway Safety  ~  Older Drivers  ~




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Missouri Department of Transportation
Central Office
105 W. Capitol Avenue
Jefferson City, MO 65102
1-888-ASK-MODOT (275-6636)
1-866-831-6277 (Motor Carrier Services)
Driver's License Offices
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