Teens and millennials are taking longer to get their licenses these days, according to a report from Traffic Injury Prevention. The number of teens getting their licenses has dropped from 87.3% in 1983 to 69.5% in 2010. Some barriers to entry with teen drivers include super high insurance rates, a lack of time and massive expenses associated with owning a car. This has car dealers and automakers in a tizzy because who will buy all those Nissan Versas or Chevrolet Sonics?!
Some states are seeing with more lax teen driving requirements that teens are more open to getting a license. Some solutions include allowing teens to get permits earlier, test for licenses sooner and prevent insurance companies from charging ludicrously high premiums on new drivers. Here are three states that have done this right.
Arizona offers teen drivers the chance to get a permit when they turn 15 years and 6 months old, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation. Getting a permit early means young drivers can get their license as soon as they turn 16 assuming they already have 20 hours of supervised daytime driving experience and 10 hours of night driving. Like many states, Arizona has a graduated licensing system that allows teens to drive without an adult driver supervising. The only restriction on a graduated license is that teens can’t drive between midnight and 5 AM until they hit 17 years old.
Hawaii is the best state for teen drivers in terms of insurance costs. Adding a new driver onto an insurance policy in Hawaii only increases premiums by 18%. This is significantly lower than Arkansas, where a monthly insurance premium increases by 116% when a teen is added to a policy according to InsuranceQuotes.org. Teens only have to wait six months wait to apply for a graduated license, according to Hawaii’s Safer Roads for Teens website. Hawaii’s graduated license is slightly more restrictive than Arizona’s, preventing teens from driving with passengers who are not related to them and prohibiting the use of electronic devices.
Illinois gets teens behind the wheel young, allowing them to take permit tests at 15, according to the Illinois Parent Teen Driving Guide. Illinois teens are required to take a driver education course along with standard permit test requirements. Compared to Hawaii and Arizona, there are an extra three months before driver licensing testing can occur in the state. They also require 50 hours behind the wheel before a teen can get their license. Teens are prohibited from driving more passengers than there are seat belts in the car which should probably be a law anyways. Another law bans teens from using cell phones, too. Similar to Arizona, a graduated license has restrictions on nighttime driving hours.