20
October
2019
|
23:00 PM
America/Chicago

Number of Licensed Teen Drivers on the Rise

New AAA Foundation study shows more teens are obtaining their license before the age of 18

AAA: Number of Licensed Teen Drivers on the Rise

NEWS RELEASE

CONTACT:

Montrae Waiters, AAA spokeswoman, The Auto Club Group,
Cell (813) 244-0815, mwaiters@autoclubgroup.aaa.com

Number of Licensed Teen Drivers on the Rise

New AAA Foundation study shows more teens are obtaining their license before the age of 18

October 20 – 26 is National Teen Driver Safety Week

Visit the AAA Georgia Newsroom

ATLANTA, Ga. (October 21, 2019) — More than 60% of teens got their driver's license before the age of 18, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. An 11% increase since 2012.

The new report reveals a changing trend in teen licensure from when the Foundation first evaluated the issue in 2012. At the time, the country was just emerging from a recession and many young people cited their family's inability to afford the high cost of driving as a reason why they did not obtain their license sooner.

"The trend for teens to acquire their driver's license has changed over the past 10 years," said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "Many are getting licensed before the age of 18, which means more of Generation Z is learning to drive under the protection of state graduated driver licensing programs and parental supervision."

The new AAA Foundation study surveyed young adults ages 18-24 to determine when they obtained their license and found that nationally, 40.8% got their license at or before age 16 and 60.3% got their license before the age of 18. Other findings show:

  • Only half (49.8%) of teens in large cities obtain their license before the age of 18, compared with nearly two-thirds of those in less urbanized areas.

  • Teens living in the Midwest tend to be licensed at younger ages -- 55% at or before age 16 and 70% before age 18. While only one-third (32.2%) of teens living in the West and fewer than a quarter (22.3%) of teens in the Northeast reported getting their license at or before age 16, only 56% (Northeast) and 48% (West) did so before age 18.

Past AAA Foundation research found that for every mile driven, new teen drivers ages 16-17 years old are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a deadly crash. All states have in place graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems for teen drivers ages 16 and 17 to help them gradually learn the rules of the road under less risky conditions. The programs require minimum holding periods and practice requirements for teens with learner's permits, followed by restricted licenses that limit driving at night or with peer passengers.

Also, drivers first licensed at age 18 are more likely to be involved in a crash resulting in injuries during their first year of solo driving than new drivers licensed at any other age. Nearly 28% of the young adults in the AAA Foundation survey reported waiting until they were 18 or older to get their license. Reasons young adults cited for delaying licensure included:

  • Nervous about driving (68.4%)

  • They could do everything they needed without driving (52.6%)

  • Driving was too expensive (33.3%)

  • Too busy to get a license (28.9%)

  • Family members did not have time to help them get their license (20.5%)

The greatest dangers for teen drivers are alcohol consumption, inconsistent or no seat belt use, distracted driving, speeding and driving with passengers in the vehicle. Encourage your teen drivers to "R.E.A.D the Road":

  • R = Right speed, for right now: Always mind the speed limit and reduce your speed when traveling in adverse weather conditions.

  • E = Eyes up, brain on: Always scan the road to anticipate dangers ahead. Eliminate distractions and keep your mind focused on the task of driving.

  • A = Anticipate their next move: Be aware of other drivers on the road. Anticipate their next move and always have a plan to respond.

  • D = Huge DONUT of space around your vehicle: Keep large amounts of space to the front and sides of your vehicle.

TeenDriving.AAA.com has a variety of tools to help prepare parents and teach new drivers the rules of the road. The online AAA StartSmart program also offers great resources for parents on how to become effective in-car coaches as well as advice on how to manage their teen's overall driving privileges. Novice drivers preparing for the responsibility of driving alone should enroll in a driver education program that teaches how to avoid driver distraction and other safety skills.

About AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a not-for-profit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation's mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by conducting research into their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.AAAFoundation.org.

About The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America. ACG and its affiliates provide membership, insurance, financial services and travel offerings to over 9.9 million members across eleven states and two U.S. territories including Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, North Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; most of Illinois and Minnesota; and a portion of Indiana. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada and whose mission includes protecting and advancing freedom of mobility and improving traffic safety. Motorists can map a route, identify gas prices, find discounts, book a hotel, and access AAA roadside assistance with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. Learn more at AAA.com/mobile. Visit AAA on the Internet at AAA.com.