Know the Numbers about Teen Driving Safety

National Teen Driver Safety Week is in October, but if you missed it, we've got you covered. At, we're devoted to teen driver safety every day of the year.

How can you keep your teen safe behind the wheel? Start by knowing the facts about accidents and unsafe behaviors. Once you're armed with information, it's time to talk to your teen about their driving habits and how to make sure they are driving safely. Here's what you need to know to start the conversation.

Trends in Teen Driver Safety

Let's start with the good news: teen driving fatalities have declined over the past decade. In 2020, teen driver deaths dropped by 5.5% compared with 2011, and passenger deaths dropped by 10%. The number of teens involved in fatal drunk driving crashes also decreased by 3% in the same period. 

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), those improvements are due to states adopting graduated licensing. Also known as "Cinderella licenses," graduated licenses keep teens off the road at night and limit the number of passengers they can transport until they turn 18.

Unfortunately, teen drivers are still at the highest risk for accidents, injuries, and death when compared with older drivers. Take a look at these sobering statistics from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • 56% of teen drivers killed in collisions weren’t wearing seat belts

  • 35% of males and 18% of females were speeding 

  • 39% of teens admitted to texting or emailing while driving

  • 5.4% of teens admitted to drinking and driving

  • 16.7% of teens said they were a passenger in car driven by a drunk driver

  • 13% of teens admitted to driving while using cannabis

Clearly, too many teens still engage in risky behavior, whether they are behind the wheel or are a passenger in a car driven by a friend.

Talking to Teens about Safe Driving

Parents can play a huge role in their teen’s safety behind the wheel. Make sure your teen is educated on how to be a safe, responsible driver. Most states require some form of driver's education to ensure teens understand the rules of the road and basic safety measures. Because these courses are so effective, many insurance companies provide a discount on auto insurance upon completion. Also, provide them with plenty of practice before you let them take their driver's test. 

As a parent, it's easy to think that your teens ignore everything you do. In reality, they look to you as a model for behavior. Think about whether you’re demonstrating good driving behavior when you’re in the driver’s seat. For starters, make sure you:

  • Always buckle up.

  • Keep your phone in the glove compartment.

  • Stick to the speed limit.

  • Stay calm behind the wheel.

  • Practice defensive rather than aggressive driving.

Finally, take the time to talk to your teen directly about safe driving behavior. As a parent, you make the rules, and you should be clear about your expectations and enforcement. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends starting with these:

  1. No cell phones or texting.

  2. No extra passengers.

  3. No speeding.

  4. No alcohol.

  5. No driving or riding without a seat belt.

The CDC has a lot more information about how you can get involved and encourage your teen to be a better driver. You can also get a jump start on their education by choosing an online driver's ed course today. 

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Updated 12/13/22