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Young driver fatalities fell by 45% between 2002 and 2022

On Behalf of | Feb 21, 2024 | Motor vehicle accidents |

Young drivers in Ohio and around the country are involved in fatal accidents four times as often as older motorists, and the road users who lose their lives in these crashes are usually their passengers, the occupants of other vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians. However, a report released in October 2023 by the Governors Highway Safety Association reveals that the crash and fatality rates for drivers under the age of 21 have fallen sharply in the last 20 years. GHSA researchers based their findings on data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System between 2002 and 2021.

Young driver fatalities fall by 45%

During the two decades studied by the GHSA, the number of young drivers killed on the nation’s roads fell by 45%. Fatalities among drivers 21 years of age or older rose by 11% during the same period. Young people do not spend as much time behind the wheel as they once did, but the GHSA believes that the fall in motor vehicle accident fatalities among motorists under the age of 21 is more likely the result of graduated driver’s license programs and more effective driver training.

Graduated driver’s license programs

Every state now has a graduated driver’s license program in place for teen motorists. Common restrictions these programs place on young drivers include limiting the number of passengers they can carry and banning driving after dark. The graduated driver’s license programs in New Jersey and Maryland cover drivers between the ages of 18 and 20. If other states took a similar approach, the GHSA believes that young driver fatalities would fall even further.

Vulnerable road users

Drivers under the age of 21 are among the nation’s most vulnerable road users, and the accidents they are involved in are often deadly. Fatalities among young drivers have fallen by 45% in the last 20 years, but motorists under the age of 21 are still four times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than more experienced motorists. According to the GHSA, the fall in young motorist deaths is largely due to graduated driver’s license programs that all states have implemented. If these programs were strengthened, more lives could be saved.