Teen drivers have crash rates 3 times those of drivers 20 and older per mile driven. Immaturity leads to speeding and other risky habits, and inexperience means teen drivers often don't recognize or know how to respond to hazards.

Graduated licensing reduces teens' driving risk. Graduated licensing allows teens to practice driving with supervision before getting their license and restricts driving after they are licensed. Today all states have at least some elements of graduated licensing. The current best practices are a minimum intermediate license age of 17, a minimum permit age of 16, at least 70 required hours of supervised practice driving, and, during the intermediate stage, a night driving restriction starting at 8 p.m. and a ban on all teen passengers.

Alcohol is a factor in many teen crashes. Although young drivers are less likely than adults to drink and drive, their crash risk is higher when they do. The combination of drinking and driving is made worse by teenagers' relative inexperience both with drinking and with driving.

Safe vehicles for teens

Our list of recommended used models can help guide parents making this important purchase.

GDL crash reduction calculator

The Institute's online calculator shows how each state can save lives and reduce crashes by strengthening young driver laws.

Beginning teen drivers

This fact sheet about young drivers and graduated licensing is also available in Spanish. Printed brochures can be requested in either language.

Young drivers: the high-risk years

Teen drivers have much higher crash rates than adults. Fortunately, there are ways parents can help reduce the risks, as shown in this video.