Every May and June during prom season, a dreaded and dreadful headline appears. Last May in New Jersey, it was “Teens die in crash hours after high school prom.” Two teenage girls were killed and two others injured in the early morning hours after their high school prom. The 17-year-old driver veered off the road and hit a tree. Their school district superintendent told the press that the girls were in the 10th and 11th grades, saying, ““Our hearts and prayers go out to the families….” How often must we read those words, or something like them?
- Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens.
- In 2015, 2,333 teens in the U.S. ages 16–19 were killed, and 221,313 were treated in emergency departments, for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes in 2014.
- That means that six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.
- In 2013, young people ages 15-19 represented only 7% of the U.S. population. However, they accounted for 11% ($10 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries.
- Teen drivers 16 to 19 years old are four times more likely than older drivers to crash.
- About a third of alcohol-related teen traffic fatalities occur between April and June, peak prom season.
- Young drivers (ages 16-20) are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% than when they have not been drinking.