More Teens Stall Getting a License, says AAA

One in three waiting until age 18 to drive

Phoenix, Aug. 1, 2013. Fewer teens have been putting themselves in the driver’s seat and obtaining a license.

One in three teens nationwide now waits to get his or her license until turning 18, according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This trend also holds true with Arizona teens. Since 2008, there has been a more than 3 percent drop statewide in 16- to 18-year-olds getting their license, according to the most recent data from Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).

“The costs of gas prices and maintaining a car are causing teens to delay licensure,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “As a leader in driver safety, we encourage teens to educate themselves before they do get that license.”

According to ADOT, fewer teens also have been killed in fatal crashes since 2008. In 2008, 81 teens were killed in a crash in Arizona, compared to 56 teens in 2012. Many experts believe the drop in crashes has been helped from instituting graduated driver’s licensing, which became law in 2008 in Arizona.

As an advocate for the safety and the security of the motoring public, AAA Arizona offers free and low-cost education opportunities for budding drivers. This year, more than 800 teens and their parents have attended AAA Arizona’s Permit Prep 101, a free 90-minute workshop that helps prepare teens to take the driving test.

According to AAA traffic safety experts, the top five reasons teens are delaying licensure are:

  • Lack of resources: Many teens don’t have someone to teach them, access to a car or can’t afford a driving school.
  • Daunting costs: Maintenance, gas and insurance often are beyond a teen’s means.
  • The intimidation factor: Other drivers and driving conditions frighten some teens.
  • Parental guidance: Many parents would rather drive their kids rather than give them the keys.
  • No need: With the increasing popularity of cell phones and social media, there’s no need to go over to friends’ houses or the mall.

AAA’s teen driving site, Keys2Drive, provides specific information on preparing to drive, the learner’s permit stage, and solo driving. The club also offers teenSMART, a computer-based breakthrough driver safety program that makes teen drivers three times safer on the road and can save money on insurance. Those who seek outside, behind-the-wheel assistance can access the AAA Approved Driving School Network.

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AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, provides automotive, insurance and travel services to more than 840,000 Arizona members. Annually, AAA’s Roadside Assistance responds to more than 450,000 calls for help on Arizona roadways. The auto club also provides discounts and financial services to AAA members. Since its founding in 1927, AAA Arizona has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.