AAA Teen Driver Safety

Safety Advocates

By advocating for graduated driver licensing, helping parents work with their teens and improving driver education, AAA has been involved in teen driver safety for decades. We continue our efforts in classrooms, at state houses and around family kitchen tables, and we invite you to join us.

AAA has a wide range of tools – parent-teen driving agreements, online webinars, licensing information and a free online series of e-newsletters and webisodes developed from a National Institutes of Health program – that help parents simplify the learning-to-drive process with their teen. Check them out at Keys2Drive , the only website that provides families with state-specific information for their specific stage of the learning-to-drive process.

For decades, AAA has helped teens, parents and driving instructors with state-of-the-art driver education materials. Learn more.

Graduated driver licensing (GDL) is a three-stage system that allows teens to gradually gain exposure to complex driving situations, easing them into driving under low-risk conditions over an extended period of time. Research shows GDL greatly reduces crashes, injuries and deaths for teen drivers and other road users. AAA has been a leading voice for GDL since the 1990s and has succeeded in getting all 50 states to adopt phased licensing processes, but more must be done.

AAA and other safety advocates continue to work for improvements that focus on several key licensing components:

  • Passenger limits: No more than one passenger under age 21 during a teen driver’s first six months of solo driving.
  • Night driving limits: No driving between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
  • Mandatory practice: Requiring at least a six-month holding period for a learner’s permit and 50 hours of certified practice driving.

Currently, only five states meet or exceed AAA GDL guideline standards in these core areas: Delaware, Indiana, New York, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

The positive effects of strong GDL systems have been extensively measured. States with comprehensive GDL systems (five or more of seven key GDL components) have experienced a 38 percent decrease in fatal crashes involving 16-year-olds and a 40 percent reduction in injury crashes. States with fewer and/or weaker components saw smaller reductions.


Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers

In 2012, the AAA Foundation released a new study that shows the presence of passengers in a vehicle increases the risk of fatal crash involvement for teenage drivers. Download »