June 8, 2022

The State of Teen Speeding in 2022

Teen speeding is a concern for almost 80 percent of parents.

While speeding is an incredibly common practice among drivers, teen speeding is more dangerous, as teens have less driving experience and slower reaction times. Most parents are concerned about their teens driving over the speed limit, and rightly so: Teens are 16 percent more likely to speed than the rest of the population. To learn more about this topic, we conducted a survey of nearly 500 parents and teens ages 16 to 18 about their driving habits, concerns, and confidence around speeding. Here are our key findings:

  • Nearly 8 in 10 parents of teens are concerned about their teen drivers speeding.
  • 6 in 10 teenagers admit to speeding sometimes, often, or every time they drive.
  • Drivers ages 16 to 18 speed more than the general population — 43 percent of them, compared with 30 percent across all age groups from 2015 to 2019.
  • Male drivers are 45 percent more likely than female drivers to die in traffic accidents due to speeding.
  • Speeding-related traffic deaths are most common in Hawaii, making up a total of 83 percent of all novice drivers’ motor vehicle deaths.

How Common Is Speeding?

Teens are more likely to speed and to allow less distance between themselves and the car in front of them — a dangerous practice.1 Overall, 43 percent of drivers ages 16 to 18 speed, compared with 30 percent of the general population. However, teen speeding is more common for certain groups, in certain locations, and with certain driving behaviors.

By Sex

Male teens are more likely to die in speeding accidents than female teens by a difference of 45 percent. This isn’t surprising, as men pay more for car insurance in most states because of their higher propensity for speeding and at-fault accidents.

Sex of drivers age 15-20 Percentage of speeding drivers in fatal crashes in 2019
Male 31%
Female 17%

Percentage of speeding drivers in fatal crashes, 2019-Pie Chart

By State

Some states have more traffic fatalities related to teen speeding than others. Hawaii has the most: 83 percent of all its teen motor vehicle deaths from 2015 to 2019 were related to speeding. Speeding caused the majority of teen motor vehicle deaths for 20 states, and half of them for four states.

State Fatalities related to teen driver speeding in 2015-19 (high to low)
Hawaii 83%
Washington, D.C. 80%
New Hampshire 77%
Maine 71%
Pennsylvania 68%
Rhode Island 67%
New York 63%
Missouri 61%
Illinois 59%
New Mexico 58%
Colorado 57%
Oregon 57%
South Carolina 57%
Vermont 56%
Wyoming 55%
Connecticut 54%
Massachusetts 54%
Kansas 53%
Arizona 51%
Nevada 51%
Alaska 50%
Delaware 50%
Maryland 50%
New Jersey 50%
North Carolina 49%
Virginia 49%
West Virginia 47%
California 46%
South Dakota 46%
Wisconsin 46%
Michigan 44%
Montana 44%
Texas 44%
Washington 44%
Indiana 40%
Alabama 39%
Oklahoma 39%
North Dakota 38%
Minnesota 36%
Ohio 36%
Arkansas 34%
Utah 34%
Kentucky 33%
Louisiana 32%
Georgia 28%
Iowa 28%
Tennessee 27%
Idaho 26%
Nebraska 23%
Florida 21%
Mississippi 20%

Mississippi has the lowest rate: In this state, only 1 in 5 teen traffic fatalities are related to speeding.

How Common is Speeding

By Alcohol Use

Only about 3 in 10 speeding-related fatal crashes for teens involve alcohol, which is the lowest percentage for any age group except 75 and older. However, we know that teen drivers have the highest crash rates of any age group, which implies that most of their crashes are not due to driving under the influence, but inexperience.

Ages of speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2020 No alcohol use BAC over 0.08%
15-20 69% 25%
21-24 55% 40%
25-34 52% 42%
35-44 52% 42%
45-54 54% 41%
55-64 61% 33%
65-74 68% 29%
75 and older 87% 10%2

Parent Attitudes on Teen Speeding

Teens are slightly more confident than parents about their ability to control speed.

Parents “moderately” or “extremely” confident in their teens’ speed control Teens “moderately” or “extremely” confident in their own speed control
67% 72%

According to our survey, 78 percent of parents are “slightly” to “extremely” concerned about teen driver speeding, while 1 in 5 aren’t concerned at all.

Parents’ concern level about teen drivers’ speeding Percentage of responses
Not at all concerned 22%
Slightly or somewhat concerned 61%
Moderately or extremely concerned 17%

Why Is Speeding So Dangerous for Teens?

While speeding is dangerous for everyone, it’s worse for teens, because they have little driving experience and typically can’t react quickly to dangerous situations.

Characteristics of Teen Speeding

Roadway Departures vs. Rollovers

Teens are slightly more likely than the average across all age groups to crash fatally in roadway departures as opposed to rollovers. Nearly 7 in 10 speeding-related motor vehicle deaths of teens from 2015 to 2019 involved roadway departures.

Ages of drivers in speeding-related fatal crashes in 2015-19 Percentage of crashes involving roadway departure Percentage of crashes involving rollover
16 71% 41%
17 71% 35%
18 68% 37%
19 65% 33%
20-29 62% 33%
30-39 58% 32%
40-49 55% 30%
50 and older 52% 26%

Seat Belt Use

On average, 46 percent of teen speeding crashes involved young drivers not wearing seat belts.

Age Percentage of fatally injured teen drivers in speeding-related crashes who were unrestrained
16 43%
17 47%
18 46%
19 47%

While most teens wear seat belts every time they drive, 16 percent do not, making injuries and fatalities more likely for them in crashes.

How often do teen drivers wear their seat belts, compared to how often their parents think they do? Percentage of parents’ responses Percentage of teens’ responses
Every time 78% 83%
Almost every time 18% 8%
Sometimes 3% 4%
Never or almost never 1% 4%

Road Type

Most fatal crashes of teens that involve speeding occur on non-freeway arterial roads, at an average of 44 percent for 2015 to 2019. Specifically, 16- and 17-year-olds were most likely to die on collector or local roads.

Age of drivers in speeding-related fatal crashes in 2015-19 Freeway Non-freeway arterial road Collector/local road
16 5% 39% 54%
17 9% 41% 50%
18 14% 46% 40%
19 16% 47% 37%
20 and older 22% 48% 29%3

If you want to protect your teen driver and their passengers, consider drawing up a parent-teen driving agreement for each of you to sign, or enroll them in driving school.

Methodology

We conducted two surveys: one of parents and one of teen drivers ages 16 to 18.

The parent survey questioned 243 parents of teens ages 13 to 19 on SurveyMonkey from April 26 to May 3, 2022. Here are the ages of the respondents’ children by percentage:

How old is/are your teenage child or children? Select all that apply. Responses
13 10%
14 17%
15 9%
16 32%
17 41%
18 29%
19 15%

We ran the teen survey via Pollfish on April 26 and 27, 2022. We received 250 responses from males (48 percent) and females (52 percent) ages 16 through 18.

We supplemented our original data with third-party research from these national organizations:

  • Governors Highway Safety Association
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
  • National Institutes of Health
  • National Safety Council

Frequently Asked Questions

What age group crashes the most?

According to 2020 data from the National Safety Council, the age group of drivers that crashes the most is 16 to 19. They have the highest rate of all types of crashes, and of motor vehicle deaths due to crashes.

Age group 2020 rate of motor vehicle deaths per 100,000 licensed drivers 2020 rate of all motor vehicle crashes per 100,000 licensed drivers
16-19 44 22,103
20-24 39 15,876
25-34 34 11,941
35-44 26 9,062
45-54 23 7,776
55-64 20 6,187
65-74 14 4,383
75 and older 24 3,369

What behaviors that teenagers engage in may increase their risk of car accidents?

  • Speeding
  • Distracted driving (texting, eating, talking with passengers, and any other type of multitasking)
  • Driving under the influence
  • Drowsy driving
  • Driving at night
  • Driving in bad weather
  • Driving in bad road conditions

What is the leading cause of death among teens?

As of 2020, the leading cause of death among teenagers (ages 13 to 19) in the United States is unintentional injuries from accidents, including car crashes. The death rate is 17 per 100,000 teenagers, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Are teenage girls or boys better drivers?

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety from 2019, teenage girls are better drivers than teenage boys. Male teens are 13 percent more likely to be involved in crashes than female teens.

Age group Males involved in crashes in 2019 Females involved in crashes in 2019
16-20 11,990 10,432

Citations

  1. The observed effects of teenage passengers on the risky driving behavior of teenage drivers. ScienceDirect. (2005, April 14).
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/.

  2. Speeding. NSC Injury Facts. (2022).
    https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/motor-vehicle-safety-issues/speeding/.

  3. Teens and Speeding Breaking. GHSA. (2021, February 16).
    https://www.ghsa.org/sites/default/files/2021-02/GHSA_TeenSpeeding_Feb16.pdf.