In 2010, about 2,700 teens in the United States aged 16-19 were killed and almost 282,000 were treated and released from emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor-vehicle crashes.

Young people ages 15-24 represent only 14% of the U.S. population. However, they account for 30% ($19 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among males and 28% ($7 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries among females.

In the District, drivers aged 16-20 were involved in 816 crashes in 2011.

  • WRAP
    The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) conducts Youth Outreach and Education aimed at reducing alcohol-related injuries and fatalities amongst teenager drivers.
  • Teen Highway Safety
    In partnership with the Associates for Renewal in Education, Inc. (ARE), teen highway safety programs are meant to educate and demonstrate to youth and teenagers the importance of seatbelt use and the dangers of cell phone use and text messaging while driving.
  • Media
    Associates for Renewal in Education, Inc. (ARE) target youth/teenage drivers by running a media campaign to promote safe, sober driving during the spring to coincide with graduation and prom.

  • To get a learners license you must:
    Have a minimum age of -- 16.
  • Before getting a license or restricted license you must:
    Have a mandatory holding period of -- 6 months.
    Have a minimum supervised driving time of -- 40 hours in learner's stage; 10 hours at night in intermediate stage.
    Have a minimum age of -- 16, 6 months.
  • Restrictions during intermediate or restricted license stage:
    Nighttime restrictions -- September-June: 11 pm-6 am Sun.-Thur., 12:01 am-6 am Sat.-Sun.;
                                       July-August: 12:01 am-6 am
    Passenger restrictions -- first 6 months-no passengers; thereafter, no more than 2 passengers.
    (family members excepted unless otherwise noted)
  • Minimum age at which restrictions may be lifted:
    Nighttime restrictions -- 18.
    Passenger restrictions -- 18.

Research has shown that younger drivers lack the experience behind the wheel that older drivers have, do not have the same maturity level as older drivers, and are more prone to risk taking behavior (NHTSA).

Younger drivers should follow these types to ensure their safety and the safety of their passengers and other road users.

In 2007, almost one-third of national teen drivers who were killed in crashes had a positive BAC of .01 or higher at the time of the crash, even though it is illegal in all states for anyone under the age of 21 to drive with any trace of alcohol in their system.

In the District, underage drivers with a Blood Alcohol Content higher than .00 can face heavy fines, a suspended license, or jail time.

While restraint usage in the District remains high, national research indicates that teen drivers are less likely to use their seatbelts.

Driving distractions like talking on a cell phone or texting while driving are an even greater threat for teens than for others. In 2006, among drivers 15 and older involved in fatal crashes, 15- to 17-year olds had the highest percentage of distracted drivers.

The District has banned both text messaging and hand-held phone usage for ALL DRIVERS. These are both primary enforcement laws, meaning that an officer may ticket a driver for using a handheld cell phone while driving without any other traffic offense taking place.

Drivers aged 16-18 in the District must abide by the following nighttime restrictions:

September-June: 11 pm-6 am Sun.-Thur., 12:01 am-6 am Sat.-Sun.;
July-August: 12:01 am-6 am;

In the first 6 months of having a license, drivers under 18 may not have any passengers in their car, with the exception of family members. After that, drivers under 18 may have up to 2 passengers in their vehicles that are not related to them.

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District Department of Transportation, PPSA - Highway Safety Office, 55 M ST, SE, 5th Floor, Washington, DC 20003 (202) 673-6813