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Licensed drivers in the U.S. - total number by state 2018

This statistic represents the total number of licensed drivers in the United States in 2018, with a breakdown by state. In 2018, there were almost 17.4 million driver's license holders in Texas.

U.S. licensed drivers by state

The driver’s license became mandatory in the United States in the early 20th century, with Missouri and Massachusetts being the first states to require an official license for operating certain types of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, passenger vehicles, trucks, trailers or buses. New Jersey became the first state to require all drivers to pass a mandatory test before being granted an official driver’s license.

In 2018, there were about 227.5 million licensed drivers in the United States. At around 27 million, California issued the highest number of licenses in the country that year. Not only is California the U.S. state with the highest number of licensed drivers, but it is also the most populous state in the U.S. overall, representing close to 12 percent of the country’s total population.

When it comes to accidents, people aged 21 to 24 are most at risk. Across all age groups, the male population has substantially higher death rates than the female population.

Total number of licensed drivers in the U.S. in 2018, by state

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Release date

January 2020


United States

Survey time period


Supplementary notes

Information was taken from state authorities; estimates were made by the Federal Highway Administration where data was unavailable.

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Statistics on "Car drivers in the United States"

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