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Will more teen drivers mean more accidents?

After years of decline, it seems that, of late, there have been more teen drivers getting their licenses, and, presumably, taking to the roadways of Florida and the rest of the country. In the mid-1980s, the number of teenage drivers in this country peaked out, with about 40 percent of 16-year-olds holding a license to drive. Around the same time, the number of 17-year-olds holding a license was close to 70 percent, or over 2 out of 3 drivers this age.

By about 2010, the number of 16-year-olds who could drive legally was closer to 30 percent, while just under half of all 17-year-olds held a valid license. While most people still have a license by the time they are 18, even this number has steadily gone down over the years.

Of late, though, there seems to be a slight uptick in the number of drivers under 20 who are seeking a license. For some people, this may be a cause of concern, as some research suggests that teenagers just have some inherent characteristics that make them riskier drivers and more apt to be involved in a car accident. On the other hand, some have suggested that the real issue with teen drivers is not age but relative inexperience behind the wheel.

There is at least one statistic that may support the latter position. As time has gone on, there have been fewer and fewer teens involved in fatal accidents. Moreover, since about 2010, the age group most commonly involved in fatal accidents has been 20 to 34 years, and not teens.

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