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Trends in Teen Driver Licensure, Driving Patterns and Crash Involvement in the United States, 2006–2015

Photo: Female teenage driver adjusting the mirror with Mom in passenger seat

During the decade of 2006-2015, the percentage of U.S. high school seniors that had a driver’s license decreased by 11% (from 81% to 72%), and the percentage of seniors that did not drive in an average week increased by 44% (from 18% to 26%).

Overall, during the decade, 17-and 18-year-old drivers experienced large declines in fatal and nonfatal injury crashes, although crashes increased in both 2014 and 2015.


CDC Vital Signs

Motor Vehicle Crash Deaths

Reducing motor vehicle crash deaths was one of the great public health achievements of the 20th century for the US. However, more than 32,000 people are killed and 2 million are injured each year from motor vehicle crashes. In 2013, the US crash death rate was more than twice the average of other high-income countries. In the US, front seat belt use was lower than in most other comparison countries. One in 3 crash deaths in the US involved drunk driving, and almost 1 in 3 involved speeding. Lower death rates in other high-income countries and a high percentage of risk factors in the US suggest that we can make more progress in reducing crash deaths. (July 6, 2016)

CDC Vital Signs. 1 in 10 teens in high school drinks and drives. Teen Drinking and Driving

The percentage of teens in high school who drink and drive has decreased by more than half since 1991,* but more can be done. Nearly one million high school teens drank alcohol and got behind the wheel in 2011. Teen drivers are 3 times more likely than more experienced drivers to be in a fatal crash. Drinking any alcohol greatly increases this risk for teens. (October 2, 2012)

Journal Articles

MMWR Articles

Additional Resources

One of the most important safety features for your teen driver is you. Parents Are the Key to Safe Teen Driving

Parents Are the Key, a campaign from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), helps parents, pediatricians, and communities keep teen drivers safe on the road.


Reducing Risks for Teen Drivers thumbnail image of the report cover

Safe Kids Worldwide report “Reducing Risks for Teen Drivers” examines trends in motor vehicle crashes involving teens, and explores how families are managing the risks new drivers face.