Traffic Crashes — The Second Leading Cause of Death for Teens
Traffic crashes are the second leading cause of teen deaths in Minnesota teens. Each year, more than 30 teens (ages 16–19) are killed on Minnesota roads. The leading cause of teen deaths is suicide.
Teens are at greatest risk on the road due to inexperience, risk-taking behind the wheel, speeding and distracted driving. Teens also have the lowest seat belt use rate of all age groups.
Due to inexperience, distractions and risk-taking, teens are one of the worst groups of drivers in Minnesota. In 2018, teens (15-19) made up just 5 percent of all licensed drivers. Yet, they made up 15.9 percent of all drivers involved in traffic crashes.
In 2018, there were 29 teenage traffic deaths (13–19), an increase from the 27 teen deaths in 2017. Teen deaths in Minnesota have decreased overall in the past decade. (There were 40 teen deaths in 2009).
In 2018, only 36 percent of killed motor vehicle occupant teens (13-19) were known to be buckled up.
In 2018, 10 percent of all teen (15-19) drivers involved in fatal crashes were known to be drinking.
In 2017, 737 teen drivers (15-19) were arrested for DWI.
In 2017, 468 people under 21 were convicted for “not-a-drop” violations. These occur when a driver has alcohol in their systems but they did not test at the .08 level or above.
Is Your Teen Ready for the Road?
It takes a commitment by parents and many hours to prepare teen drivers to get behind the wheel. But that doesn’t end when a teen gets their license.
A common mistake by parents is thinking their teen is ready for the road as soon as they pass the road test. For example, teens shouldn't be driving alone the first time they hit the road when it snows. Parents should practice with their teens in different types of scenarios before their teen hits the road solo.
In this video, Gordy Pehrson walks parents and teens through some tips on how you can help your teen driver be better behind the wheel.
Teen Driver Safety Parent Awareness Programs
Effective January 1, 2015, all Minnesota driver education providers (schools) must provide a “Supplemental Parental Curriculum” to any parent/guardian who chooses to receive it.
At a minimum, the supplemental parental curriculum must:
1. Be at least 90 minutes in length;
2. Be provided by or in the presence of a driver education instructor; and
3. Provide information concerning graduated driver licensing, safety risks associated with novice drivers, potential influence of adults on novice driver behaviors, and additional resources.
Parents/guardians should contact their local driver education providers (schools) to obtain information on upcoming parent awareness classes.
Point of Impact: Teen Driver Safety Parent Awareness Program
The Office of Traffic Safety has materials available for communities and driver’s education schools to implement a community-based class for parents and their soon-to-be teen drivers. The class will increase parent awareness of teen driving risks, Minnesota's teen driver laws and the important role parents play in developing a safer teen driver. To request the Point of Impact program materials, contact Gordy Pehrson.
Parents' Role in Developing Safe Teen Drivers — Laws, FAQs and Tips
Learn more about what parents can do to keep teens safe on the road, such as:
Supervised Driving Log
Effective Jan. 1, 2015, every driver under the age of 18 who completed behind the wheel instruction and is testing for a provisional driver's license must submit a driving log showing the dates and lengths of drive time for each supervised trip. The supervised driving log must be signed by a parent or guardian.
Teen License Parent Withdrawal Form
The Teen License Parent Withdrawal Form is available for parents to cancel the driving privileges of their teen's driver's license (under age 18).
Teen Crashes Have Predictable and Preventable Patterns:
They are prone to making simple driving errors, often while speeding.
They are twice as likely to crash at night.
Crashes while driving to and from school, especially after school, and with other teens in the car is common.
Teen passengers increase distractions and promote risk-taking behaviors.