Number of licensed drivers - United States 1990-2018

Over 227.5 million people held valid driving licenses in the United States in 2018. In most U.S. states, the minimum age to be behind the wheel is 16 years old. There are slightly more female licensees than male. Some states are beginning to issue non-binary gender options on their licenses, and digital IDs are expected to become widely adopted soon.

Lack of road safety

Lax driving tests and lack of training are sometimes sighted as reasons for the high level of road accidents and fatalities in the United States, compared to other countries. The number of people killed in traffic-related accidents reached a peak in 2016, when almost 40,330 people died on U.S. roads. In recent years, the United States has witnessed a slight decrease in road traffic fatalities. The vast majority of accidents are recorded in urban areas, but rural accidents are more likely to be fatal.

Automation and aggravation

More than half of U.S. drivers say they have been on the receiving end of road-rage. These events may cause traffic accidents or lead to physical assault. It is hoped that vehicle automation will be able to reduce driver error and eliminate road rage. However, self-driving cars are often on the receiving end of violence due to anti-computer animosity from human drivers, and still, we can expect to share roads with more self-driving vehicles soon.

Number of licensed drivers in the United States from 1990 to 2018

Number of licensed drivers in thousands
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Sources

Release date

2020

Region

United States

Survey time period

1990 to 2018

Supplementary notes

Some States include restricted driver licenses and graduated driver licenses in their licensed driver counts.

The figures for 1990 through 2015 are taken from previous editions.

The values have been rounded.

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