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.
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.
are three factors that contribute to traffic crashes for this
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.