Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Fewer Teens Driving at 16-Years-Old

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Good news for parents worried about the accident statistics. According to the Federal Highway Administration, in 2006 only thirty percent of 16-year-olds held driver's licenses. Some of the reasons include tighter state laws about when teenagers can drive, the price of automobile insurance, and the shift from drivers education in school to private companies. in most states it is much easier to get a license after you are 18-years old.

There are fewer than 20% of high schools teaching drivers education now, with most families doing on-line or in class private lessons, as well as private behind-the-wheel lessons before the 50 hours of practice in the family car (in California). Once all the practice is done, the insurance rate is similar to the adult rate, in spite of the fewer hours driven by the teen. The highest rates are for teens who own their own car.

Many states have some form of graduated driving restrictions keeping youth practicing with parents longer, and from driving with other teens in the car, or during late night and early morning hours. In addition, many employers cannot hire teens to do any jobs that require driving.

Another related change is the extent to which parents stay involved with their teens activities and are willing to drive them to lessons, sports, and after school activities. Knowing where kids are and knowing they are not driving with other teens is a comfort to many parents, especially given the fact that car accidents account for one-third of the deaths of 16-to18-year olds.

Photo Credit: daveparker
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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