Feb 26, 2024

Question of the Day: Guess the percentage of each age group that has their driver's license: 16-year-olds? 18-year-olds?

Extra credit if you can guess the percentages of 16- and 18-year-olds that were getting their licenses in 1983. 


  • 25.3% of 16-year-olds had their driver's license in 2021 (compared to 46.0% in 1983)
  • 59.7% of 18-year-olds had their driver's license in 2021 (compared to 80.4% in 1983)



  • When did you get your driver’s license OR when do you plan to get your license?
  • What factors determined/will determine when you get your license?
  • Why do you think that fewer 16- and 18-year-olds are getting their drivers license today compared to 1983? 
  • When it comes to auto insurance, do you think the cost of insuring a 16-year-old is higher or lower than insuring an 18-year-old? Explain your answer.


Click here for the ready-to-go slides for this Question of the Day that you can use in your classroom.


Behind the numbers (The Week and Federal Highway Administration):

Getting a driver's license used to be a sign of burgeoning independence for America's teens. That may not be the case anymore. The Washington Post reports that 16- and 17-year-olds are driving much less than their predecessors. "Unlike previous generations, they don't see cars as a ticket to freedom or a crucial life milestone." And that reluctance to get behind the wheel is lasting into young adulthood: Just 80 percent of adults in their early twenties had their licenses in 2020 — down 10 percent from 1997...And The Wall Street Journal in 2019 reported that while nearly half of 16-year-olds were driving in the 1980s, just a quarter were by 2017. The Washington Post, drawing on data from the Federal Highway Administration, suggests the number remained at about 25 percent in 2020.


Check out NGPF's Insurance unit for more resources!


COMPARE: Car Insurance Comparison Shopping will get your students thinking about what goes into being a driver.

About the Author

Ryan Wood

Ryan grew up with and maintains a love for learning. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a degree in Business Administration and worked in sports marketing for a number of years. After living in Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, and Minnesota, the call of education eventually brought Ryan back to his home state of Wisconsin where he was a Business and Marketing teacher for three years. In his free time he likes to spend time with his wife and daughter, play basketball, read, and go fishing. Now with NGPF, Ryan is excited to help teachers lead the most important course their students will ever take.

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