Young Drivers Facts

Anatomy of a Crash

Hopefully you’ll never be involved in a crash because here’s what happens:

Your car hits something.
It might be another car or truck, a tree or a telephone pole. Even at 30 mph, your car will get badly damaged. It will absorb some of the force of the crash, but not all.

You hit the car.
After your car stops, the force of the crash has to go somewhere. Next it hits you and anybody else in the car. If you’re not wearing a safety belt, your body will be thrown forward until you’re stopped by something, like:

The windshield or dashboard
The steering wheel
You get the idea. The human body will absorb more of the force of the crash. But it’s still not over.

Your internal organs crash, too.
Once your body has come to a stop against part of the car, the force of the crash goes on inside you. Your brain slams against your skull. Your lungs hit your rib cage. Your kidneys and other organs may also smash into your bones. It’s this part of the crash that causes many internal injuries.

Crashes can be life-altering–or life-ending–experiences.
That’s why your best protection is to buckle up properly every time and to always drive safely.


  • Young drivers are overrepresented in traffic crashes.
  • In 2007, one person was killed or injured every 30 minutes in a traffic crash involving a young driver.
  • A total of 185 people were killed and 17,247 were injured in traffic crashes involving a young driver (15-20) in 2007.
  • Results of a 2008 survey among Missouri teens revealed a 62 percent safety belt usage rate. The overall statewide safety belt usage rate is 77 percent.
  • Your single BEST defense in a traffic crash is to wear your seat belt. In the past three years, 415 young vehicle occupants (ages 15-19) died in Missouri traffic crashes – 80 percent were not wearing seat belts!