The Florida Teen Driver Fact Sheet has found that nationally, teen drivers were involved in approximately 1,035,811 crashes resulting in 4,405 fatalities and 319,335 serious injuries in 2020. Florida has more than 800,000 registered teen drivers, age 15 to 19. In Florida, teen drivers were involved in 84,052 crashes resulting in 350 fatalities and 1,935 serious injuries in 2020. Nationally, drivers aged 16 and 17 have the highest crash rates of any age group, while in Florida, teens age 18 and 19 have the highest crash rates. Peer pressure is an especially potent contributing factor to crashes involving a teen driver.
A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found:
Teen drivers are inexperienced and therefore more likely to underestimate dangerous situations and allow shorter distances between vehicles. From 2016-2020, more than one third of all fatalities, serious injuries, and crashes involving a teen driver in Florida occurred at intersections where the mix of traffic, pedestrians, signs, and signals can be overwhelming, especially for someone who is inexperienced. The Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws allow new drivers to gain necessary experience and skills before being allowed full driving privileges. GDL has been very effective in reducing fatalities and serious injuries among teen drivers in places where GDL laws are the most robust.
In 2020, travel behavior was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to historic lows in Florida’s vehicle miles traveled for portions of the year when most of the population limited their travel to only the essentials. This shift in travel behavior had a major impact on the number of fatalities, serious injuries, and crashes creating, in some cases, abrupt shifts from previous trends. Florida will continue to monitor these trends to determine if data reported in 2020 is an outlier or the beginning of a new trend in teen driver safety.