Trap creation in both the bulk of silicon dioxide films and at its interfaces with silicon and metallic contacting electrodes is shown to depend on the presence of hot electrons in the oxide. For thick oxides (≥100 Å), little trap creation is observed in the near-thermal transport regime at electric field magnitudes less than 1.5 MV/cm. At these low fields, electrons travel in a streaming fashion close to the bottom of the oxide conduction band at energies less than that of the dominant optical phonon mode at 0.153 eV. At higher electric fields, the rate of bulk trap creation is proportional to the average energy of the hot electrons, which move in a dispersive manner and can reach energies as large as 4 eV. For thin oxides (<100 Å) where electrons can travel ballistically (i.e., without scattering), traps are not produced unless injected electrons acquire more than 2 eV of kinetic energy from the applied electric field, regardless of the magnitude of this field. All data on both thin and thick oxides are shown to give a threshold for trap creation of about 2.3 eV by the hot electrons in the oxide conduction band. Also, trap creation is shown to be suppressed by lowering the lattice temperature below ≊150 K. Our results are discussed in terms of a model involving hydrogen-related-species release from defect sites near the anode by the hot electrons and the subsequent motion of these molecules to regions near the cathode where they can interact with the lattice and form the trapping sites which are measured.