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Home > Maine Highway Crash Data > Crash Severity Facts & Statistics > Young Drivers - Maine Highway Crash Facts 1996

Young Drivers - Maine Highway Crash Facts 1996

Maine Crash Outcome Data Evaluation System (CODES)

During 1996 14,880 (1 in 7) Maine licensed drivers age 16-24 were involved in motor vehicle crashes on Maine roads.

Among these drivers 2,538 were injured, 1,025 transported by EMS, 115 hospitalized, and 49 were hospitalized or died with a head injury.

For young drivers, the rate of injury in motor vehicle crashes was more than 3 times the rate for older drivers.

Rates of driver injury in motor vehicle crashes - graph

One in seven Maine drivers age 16-24 was involved in a motor vehicle crash during 1996

Compared to older drivers, young drivers were more likely to be involved in crashes at night, on rural roads, using excessive speed, and driving with a suspended license. Crashes involving vehicles that ran off the road and/or occurred at a curve in the road were more common for younger drivers.

During a crash the likelihood of an injury was increased by 2.8 times if alcohol was involved and 1.6 times if illegal or unsafe speed was involved.

Young drivers involved in crashes had lower rates of belt use than older drivers. Fifty-two percent of young drivers who were hospitalized or died with a head injury were not using a seat belt.

Of the 14,880 young Maine drivers involved in crashes during 1996, 6,208 (42 percent) also had passengers riding with them. Four out of five of their passengers were other teens and young adults who also experienced significant injuries and medical costs.

The impact of passengers on the outcomes of young driver crashes added 50 percent to the number of injuries, EMS transports, and hospitalizations.

Table 1. Outcomes of 1996 crashes involving Maine drivers age 16-24.

Outcome Measure Drivers Passengers Total Occupants
Persons involved 14,880 9,260 24,140
Injured 2,538 1,362 3,900
Transported by EMS* 1,025 552 1,577
Hospitalized* 115 65 180
Hospital days* 583 341 924
Hospital charges* $1,713,782 $919,155 $2,632,937
Died 18 17 35
Years of potential life lost 1,027 980 2,007


*Represents linked records only and may underestimate actual counts.

Fifty-two percent of young Maine drivers who were hospitalized or died with a head injury during 1996 were not using a seat

Compared to older drivers, young drivers had higher rates of crash occurrence, hospitalization and cost. If young drivers had the same driving experience as older drivers, the potential reduction in medical cost (based on inpatient charges) would have been $1.8 million, or a 70 percent reduction.

Young drivers accounted for 12 percent of the drivers but 28 percent of the medical cost.

Seventy percent of the inpatient medical cost for young drivers was paid for by commercial insurers and HMOs. This potentially represents a significant cost to Maine employers who cover young drivers either as employees or dependents under their health plans.

Who paid for inpatient hospital charges? - graph

Young driver crashes represent a significant cost to employers who most often pay for care through insurance

The average young driver hospitalized during 1996 spent 5 days in the hospital at an average charge of $14,900. These figures do not include the additional costs of physicians bills and follow-up care.

Passengers occupying vehicles driven by young drivers accounted for 35 percent of the total hospital costs resulting from these crashes.

Male drivers had higher crash rates than female drivers, and young male drivers along with their passengers accounted for 70 percent of the hospital costs for crashes involving drivers age 16-24.

For more information:
More information on the CODES project and CODES results from other states can be accessed by Internet at General information on highway traffic safety, in addition to CODES information, can be accessed at

For young Maine drivers, alcohol was a factor in 1 in every 3 crashes that resulted in death or hospitalization during 1996

During 1996, 1,132 young drivers were involved in alcohol-related crashes. Their rate of involvement in alcohol-related crashes was more than two and one-half times that of older drivers. While these crashes represented only 5 percent of the persons involved in crashes, they accounted for 33 percent of the hospitalizations and 38 percent of hospital costs.

Rates of alcohol related motor vehicle crashes - graph

For young drivers, alcohol was a factor in 1 in every 3 crashes that resulted in a death or hospitalization. Alcohol-related crashes accounted for $1.0 million of the $2.6 million in hospital inpatient charges incurred by young drivers and their passengers.

Drivers in alcohol-related crashes were also less likely to have used seat belts.

The Maine CODES Project Advisory Committee

  • Maine Health Information Center (report and data preparation)
  • Office of Data, Research, and Vital Statistics, Bureau of Health, Maine Department of Human Services (project coordinator)
  • Maine Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Highway Safety
  • Maine Department of Public Safety, Emergency Medical Services
  • Maine Department of Secretary of State, Bureau of Motor Vehicles
  • Maine Department of Transportation
  • Childhood Injury Prevention and Control, Department of Human Services
  • Physicians from Maine Medical Center and Eastern Maine Medical Center

Supported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration