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Get Behind National Teen Driver Safety Week 

The next National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) takes place on October 18-24, 2015. Last year's theme for National Teen Driver Safety Week was 'Support Older Novice Drivers: Build Awareness of the Trend in Delayed Licensure.' Many youth delay getting driver licenses until after age 18 and do so mainly for economic reasons and not to avoid Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) requirements. It can be a practical, responsible choice for families, but there are things they need to know to keep young novice drivers safe. 

The Evidence
Recent research studies conducted by both CHOP and by AAA report a significant minority of all young drivers and a majority of teens in lower income areas delay licensure until after age 18. At least one in three teens that eventually become licensed do so without the protective benefits of Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL), beyond basic learner requirements:

  • According to a nationally representative survey, 54 percent of young adults ages 18 to 20 were licensed by their 18th birthday. However, household income was strongly associated with delay in licensure: 25 percent of teens from lower income households had a license by age 18.
  • Nationally, 67 percent of white teens are licensed by age 18, 37 percent of black teens are licensed by age 18, and 29 percent of Hispanic teens are licensed by age 18.
  • According to analyses of New Jersey’s licensing data, while virtually all 18- to 20-year-old New Jersey residents in the highest income areas are licensed by age 21, more than 1 in 3 residents in the lowest income areas are not licensed by age 21.

Fewer than one in four teens cite reasons related to special driving requirements for young new drivers in their decision to delay licensure. The biggest reasons they cite, according to the nationally representative survey, are related to opportunity, costs, and motivation:

The Call to Action
We need to support our older novice drivers. Here are things you can do to spark action to address the potential safety gaps for this overlooked group of novice drivers:

older novice drivers need support

What are ways to reach older novice teen drivers? Here are a few ideas to get the conversation started:
  • Could community and state colleges offer Driver Ed curricula and credits towards core requirements (i.e., Physical Education, Health)?
  • Could GED credits include Driver Ed courses?
  • Could Community Night School for Adults offer Driver Ed and Training?
  • Could employers with significant numbers of young staff host Health/Wellness classes in Driver Ed or basic instruction on how to navigate their own GDL?
  • Could DMV licensing centers offer educational materials targeted to older novice drivers?

  • What are other ways to reach older novice drivers? Share your ideas on Facebook at RideLikeAFriend and on Twitter @safetymd #teendriving2014.

    Boost Your State's GDL

    Share this fact sheet with policymakers to extend the age requirement for the Intermediate Licensure Phase of GDL
    to age 21.






Further reading:

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