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FARS 2008 & Young Drivers


Young Drivers Involved in 18,000 of 42,000 Fatal Traffic Deaths Each Year

About 50% of the fatal accidents involving young drivers caused the death of another driver, for a total of 27,000 traffic fatalities each year which would be prevented if drivers licenses were not issued until age 23.  This would cause a 64% decrease in traffic fatalities to a rate equivalent to Japan, Switzerland, and Germany.

What you always see on the news is that young drivers between the ages of 16 to 24 are seven times as likely to be in an alcohol-involved fatal accident than drivers between the age of 55 to 63.  What you will not seen in the news is that young drivers are also two to 2 to 2 1/2 TIMES as likely as the older drivers to be in all fatal accidents, drinking or not.  You will also not see that young drivers are 12 times as likely to be involved in a non-alcohol-related fatal crash as in an alcohol-related one, nor that older drivers are FIFTEEN times as likely.  This partially explains the following observation from NHTSA itself that other factors which cause young drivers to be in a disproportionate number of accidents make their drinking and driving accidents pale by comparison:


Connolly, Kimball, and Moulton (1989) computed risk factors as a function of several variables using crash data from FARS (1976-1981) and non-crash data from the 1973 National Roadside Breathtesting Survey conducted by The University of Michigan. They used logistic regression analysis to examine the contributions of various factors to the relative risk of a fatal crash and found that even after controlling for BAC, youth alone increased the risk of a fatal crash.

These findings suggest that impairment alone may not be behind the higher risk of alcohol-related crashes for young drivers. A proclivity toward problem behavior in general and, possibly, a lower perception of the increased impairment and crash risk due to drinking may exacerbate the impairing effects of alcohol on driving for this group.


Even if you could completely eliminate the alcohol-related fatal accidents by these youth, they would STILL be in 2 to 2 1/2 TIMES as many accidents as older drivers.

It makes no sense to continue to punish them with punitive DWI laws, when these laws themselves might be what drives them to both drink AND drive dangerously.

"Perhaps you'd like to revoke women's driving licenses and institute a system similar to Saudi Arabia where women aren't allowed to drive and by law must ride with a male relative. Whatever. "

To answer your question directly, it's ALL young drivers, male and female, who should not be allowed to drive until age 23. This would save about 18 THOUSAND of THEIR lives each year, plus another 9,000 OTHER drivers, for a total of 27,000 per year. That simple move would put our traffic safety record in league with Japan, Germany, and Switzerland.

If women are allowed to drive, then they ought to be required to pass a German-type driving test, which neither my mother nor two sisters were able to pass.

An Update for young drivers from the 2011 FARS database shows that drivers between the age of 16-23 are involved in 12,400 fatal crashes each year, which is 42 percent of the 29,723 fatal crashes that year in which a total of 32,637 fellow citizens were killed. Only 1,907 of these young drivers had a BAC greater than 0.10, which means that alcohol was NOT a factor in 10,943 or 84.6% of those crashes. So even if ALL of the alcohol related crashes for young drivers were to be completely eliminated, they would STILL have a fatal crash rate 3-5 times higher than most other age groups.

About 50% or 6,200 of the 12,400 fatal crashes which involve young drivers also involve drivers of other age groups. So if young drivers were not allowed to drive until age 23, we have the potential to reduce fatal accidents like the one which is the subject of this discussion by a total of 12,400 + 6,200 = 18,600, which would lead to a reduction of our total vehicle fatality rate by 18,600 / 29,723 = 62.6%.

Who would HATE to see this happen?

1) Young drivers, of course, not even the 124 THOUSAND who we know will die in auto accident over the next ten years if we do nothing.

2) Auto insurance companies like AAA and others.

3) The entire auto industries both here and abroad.

4) MADD.


STATE: AllYEAR: 2008COUNT: Number of Persons
AgePolice-Reported Alcohol InvolvementTotal
Blank No (Alcohol Not Involved) Yes (Alcohol Involved) Not Reported Unknown (Police Reported)
Up To One Year19902063309
1 Year013003323465
2 Years010403143421
3 Years012703261454
4 Years010803174429
5 Years012102784403
6 Years011602791396
7 Years111802824405
8 Years010702844395
9 Years010703003410
10 Years010202723377
11 Years010303085416
12 Years010912944408
13 Years014923314486
14 Years01761445313656
15 Years02562164937963
16 Years155773901761,608
17 Years07731211,0691132,076
18 Years09482271,2392082,622
19 Years08413251,2072242,597
20 Years28393391,0391872,406
21 Years07664469752112,398
22 Years16724108902142,187
23 Years06783618792182,136
24 Years06283967442021,970
25 Years26003327331771,844
26 Years05732836791641,699
27 Years05473316601471,685
28 Years15292735341541,491
29 Years05012695561411,467
30 Years15022674971381,405
31 Years04842074811181,290
32 Years04571924511281,228
33 Years04661714061061,149
34 Years0453180424881,145
35 Years04861844171111,198
36 Years04701784341221,204
37 Years1503210438991,251
38 Years05102043991201,233
39 Years04751654141351,189
40 Years14841894051171,196
41 Years24701794221371,210
42 Years04871814371231,228
43 Years15511983831121,245
44 Years15541664391121,272
45 Years25041764441291,255
46 Years05071794101441,240
47 Years15221734181381,252
48 Years05541543911121,211
49 Years05181524271121,209
50 Years05151654061251,211
51 Years05011563951211,173
52 Years14991303451031,078
53 Years04661103511071,034
54 Years0451109326104990
55 Years04398734191958
56 Years044591322112970
57 Years14277228274856
58 Years04205730175853
59 Years03906225593800
60 Years04045527679814
61 Years04155223790794
62 Years13525022672701
63 Years03243619958617
64 Years02872619645554
65 Years02723321042557
66 Years02252717448474
67 Years02421717138468
68 Years12021716038418
69 Years02171316632428
70 Years12311316942456
71 Years02311714830426
72 Years01821113337363
73 Years01911313738379
74 Years0201414423372
75 Years0180513727349
76 Years0175612336340
77 Years0185913132357
78 Years0175714926357
79 Years0187412238351
80 Years0170412126321
81 Years1130613718292
82 Years0148412922303
83 Years0146111116274
84 Years012139414232
85 Years0111310020234
86 Years011628022220
87 Years08445011149
88 Years07106611148
89 Years0510477105
90 Years045043694
91 Years034137577
92 Years031234673
93 Years022226454
94 Years017016235
95 Years01208121
96 Years040307
97 Years or Older0208111
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