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New study shows more teens getting their license before age 18

More than 60 percent of teens nationally got their driver’s license before the age of 18 years old, according to a recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study.


When AAA first evaluated the trend in 2012, the group reported 11 percent less than the national percentage. 

Spokesperson for the Auto Club Group, Adrienne Woodland said the trend has changed over the last 10 years because at the time, families were coming out of the recession. 

By state law, teenagers 16 and 17 years old are required to obtain their license through the Graduated Driver’s Licensing program, which consists of different privilege stages for teen drivers. 

“These programs require minimum holding periods and practice requirements for teens with a learner’s permit, followed by restricted drivers licenses that limit driving at night and/or with peer passengers,” Woodland said.  

Woodland said this is good news that teens are getting their license before 18 years old because they are able to learn in low risk conditions. 

“Past trends of waiting until you turn 18 to be licensed was a cause for concern,” Woodland said. “Many of these young drivers were getting behind the wheel with minimal knowledge or support putting themselves and others at risk.”

According to a previous study, the AAA Foundation found drivers first licensed at 18 years old are more likely to be involved in a crash resulting injuries during their first solo year of driving than new drivers at any other age.

Tess DeGayner is a student reporter for WCMU News. She is a senior at Central Michigan University studying Journalism and Broadcasting. Her hometown is Fenton, Michigan.