According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 12.6 million licensed drivers between 15 and 20 years of age in the United States in 2011 (latest available data). Unfortunately, motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year olds.

In 2011, 10 percent of all drivers involved in fatal crashes were young drivers 15- to 20- years old.  More specifically, 4,347 15- to 20-year old drivers were involved in fatal crashes, including 1,987 driver fatalities. Over the past decade young driver fatalities have decreased 48% down from 3,838 in 2002; driver fatalities have also decreased 48% among male and female 15- to 20-year old drivers between 2002 and 2011.

Among 15- to 20-year old drivers killed in a fatal crash, 32% of these drivers had been drinking and 26% who were killed in crashes had a BAC of .08 or higher.  Nearly two percent of these young drivers involved in a fatal crash had a previous DWI conviction.

(Source: NHTSA, Traffic Safety Facts “Young Drivers,” 2013)