From AAA Foundation
The majority of American teens today delay getting a driver's license, according to new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Less than half (44 percent) of teens obtain a driver's license within 12 months of the minimum age for licensing in their state and just over half (54 percent) are licensed before their 18th birthday, causing concern among safety experts that young adult drivers are missing the benefits intended by graduated drivers licensing (GDL). These findings mark a significant drop from two decades ago when data showed more than two-thirds of teens were licensed by the time they turned 18.
"With one in three teens waiting to get their license until they turn 18, there's a segment of this generation missing opportunities to learn under the safeguards that GDL provides," said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. "For most, it's about not having a car or having alternatives for getting around that are the top reasons cited for delaying what has traditionally been considered to be a rite of passage."
Contrary to some expectations, survey results suggest that few teens wait until 18 simply to avoid graduated driver licensing. Instead, a number of other reasons for delaying licensure were cited, including:
- 44 percent – Did not have a car
- 39 percent – Could get around without driving
- 36 percent – Gas was too expensive
- 36 percent – Driving was too expensive
- 35 percent – "Just didn't get around to it"