Trends in Teen Driver Licensure, Driving Patterns and Crash Involvement in the United States, 2006–2015
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
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)
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)
- Shults RA, Williams AF. Trends in teen driver licensure, driving patterns and crash involvement in the United States, 2006–2015. J Safety Res 2017;62:181–184. DOI:10.1016/j.jsr.2017.06.013.
- Jewett A, Shults RA, Bhat G. Parental perceptions of teen driving: Restrictions, worry and influence. J Safety Res 2016;59:119-123; DOI:10.1016/j.jsr2016.09.003.
- Shults RA, Haegerich TM. Bhat G. Teens and seatbelt use: what makes them click? J Safety Res 2016;57:19–25; DOI:10.1016/j.jsr.2016.03.003.
- Haegerich TM, Shults RA, Oman RF, Vesely SK. The predictive influence of youth assets on drinking and driving behaviors in adolescence and young adulthood. Primary Prev 2016; 0: NA. DOI 10.1007/s10935-016-0418-7.
- Shults RA, Banerjee T, Perry T. Who’s not driving among U.S. high school seniors: a closer look at race/ethnicity, socioeconomic factors and driving status. Traffic Inj Prev 2016; DOI: 10.1080/15389588.2016.1161761
- Shults RA, West BA. ATV riding and helmet use among youth aged 12–17 years, United States, 2011: Results from the YouthStyles Survey. Inj Prev 2015 Feb;21(1):10–14.
- Shults RA, Williams AF. Trends in driver licensing status and driving among high school seniors in the United States, 1996–2010. J Safety Res 2013;46:167–170.
- Shults RA, Williams AF. Graduated Driver Licensing Night Driving Restrictions and Drivers Aged 16 or 17 Years Involved in Fatal Night Crashes — United States, 2009–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016;65:725–730. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6529a1.
- Sauber-Schatz EK, Ederer DJ, Dellinger AM, Baldwin GT. Vital Signs: Motor Vehicle Injury Prevention — United States and 19 Comparison Countries. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. ePub: 6 July 2016. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6526e1
- Shults RA, Olsen EO, Williams AF. Driving among high school students — United States, 2013. MMWR 2015; 64: 313-317.
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.
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.