Skip to main content

Transportation Final 10-15-11 -   1.1.d - Young Drivers

Go Search
Transportation Final 10-15-11
1. Safety
2. Preservation
3. Mobility
4. Ferries
5. Stewardship
Action Plan
1.1.d - Young Drivers
What is being done to reduce fatalities and serious injuries involving young drivers?
Progress icon Operation in progress...
Data Notes
Data Source:

Fatalities from Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) located at the WTSC.  Fatalities recorded in FARS as of 10/7/11.  Serious injuries from WSDOT DataMart.  Serious injuries recorded as of 10/7/11.

Measure Definition:


A traffic fatality in FARS is someone who dies within 30 days of a crash as a result of injuries sustained in that crash, which must involve at least one motor vehicle on a trafficway customarily open to the public.

Target Rationale:

Link to Agency Strategic Plan:




Notes: (Optional)
Also Available
Action Plan: Yes

Extended Analysis:


 Drill Down Measures

 Summary Analysis

  • In Washington, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young people ages 16-25.
  • Top factors contributing to the fatal crashes are: speeding, impairment and distraction.
  • Washington's fatal crash involvement rate is higher for the 16-20 year old group (3.7 per 10,000 drivers compared to 2.7 for the 21-25 year old group).
  • Strategies implemented to reduce young driver fatalities and serious injuries have focused on  education and restriction:
    • Intermediate Driver Licensing (IDL) Law - In 2001, Washington implemented the IDL and imposed requirements and restrictions on 16 and 17-year old drivers that included completion of a Driver Training School course, limiting young passengers, and nighttime driving curfews. By 2008, collisions among 16-year olds decreased by 54% and among 17-year olds by 17%.
    • Distracted driver focus - Between 2006 and 2008, the percentage of 16-20 year-olds driving distracted in fatal crashes increased by 26% compared to 2003-2005.  In 2008, law was passed to prohibit all wireless device use by 16-17 year olds and allow only hands-free wireless device use for drivers 18 and older.
    • Education through DOL Internet and social media - DOL's website has been updated several times in recent years to inform and appeal to young drivers and their parents.
    • Education through early warning letters - DOL completed predictive modeling research and found the risk of collision for 18-21 year olds is up to twice the risk for older drivers, so began sending early warning letters to this group and added information to the letters going to 16 and 17 year olds and their parents.  
  • Using preliminary fatality data for 2010, the number of fatalities involving drivers aged 16-20 is trending toward Washington's "Target Zero" goal of zero fatalities by 2030.