Recent Study Shows Fewer High School Seniors are Licensed to Drive

The proportion of US high school seniors who reported having a driver’s license declined from 85 percent to 73 percent during 1996–2010, according to a recent study published by CDC in the Journal of Safety Research.

CDC examined results from the Monitoring the Future survey to estimate the proportion of high school seniors who possessed a driver’s license and the proportion of seniors who did not drive during an average week from 1996–2010.

Findings include:

  • Over a 15-year period the proportion of high school seniors who reported not driving during an average week increased from 15 percent in 1996 to 22 percent in 2010.
  • Driving varied by gender and race:
  • Males reported driving more than females.
  • Fewer blacks reported driving than whites.
  • In 2010, 1 in 4 female seniors and 1 in 3 black seniors did not drive during an average week.

Much of the decline in both licensing and driving occurred since 2006. Although this study did not include information as to why teens are delaying licensure and driving less often, several recent surveys of teens indicate that the main reasons for delaying licensure are the economic costs of licensure and driving.

For an online version of the study, click here.