Each State and the District of Columbia administersits own driver licensing system. Since 1954 all States have requireddrivers to be licensed, and since 1959 all States have requiredexamination prior to licensing. Tests of knowledge of State drivinglaws and practices, vision, and driving proficiency are now requiredfor new licensees. A summary of State driver licensing requirementsis given in a separate publication, Driver License AdministrationRequirements and Fees, published biennially. There is alsoa companion publication entitled State and Provincial LicensingSystem Comparative Data that may be obtained from the AmericanAssociation of Motor Vehicle Administrators, 4301 Wilson Blvd,Suite 400, Arlington, VA 22203.
LICENSES ISSUED AND IN FORCE
Table DL-1 shows the number of learner permitsand driver licenses issued by each State during the calendar year,length of term, renewal date, fees, and the number of driver licensesin force by class at the end of the year.
MALE-FEMALE LICENSE HOLDER AND RATIOTO POPULATION
Table DL-1A, number of male and female licenseddrivers in each State, and DL-1B, ratio of licensed drivers topopulation, have been combined into DL-1C.
DL-1C displays not only the number of male/femalelicense holders, but also the relationship of licensed driversto total population and to driving-age (age 16 and over) population. This table also shows the ratio of licensed drivers to registeredprivate and commercial vehicles. The map showing this detailthat was at the end of the chapter has been eliminated.
Since there will always be persons of drivingage who will not be licensed, by choice, or because of physicalor mental infirmities, the relationships shown normally shouldnever reach 1,000. However the following conditions can make therelationships higher than expected:
(1) Although efforts are made to minimize it,drivers who move from one State to another are sometimes countedin both States until the license from the previous State of residenceexpires.
(2) Some persons obtain their driver licensesin States other than those of legal residence.
(3) Some persons fraudulently obtain multiplelicenses. Some State authorities doubt whether all persons whodrive are licensed. Where this problem exists, those that areunlicensed would partially offset any duplicate licenses issuedand inactive licenses. The degree to which this occurs is unknown.
(4) The purging of expired licenses or licensesfrom deceased persons is not done on a continual basis.
The distribution of total U.S. licensed drivers,by sex and age group, is shown in table DL-20.
DL-22 displays the number of drivers by sexand age groups for each State. For the States that do not providethe driver license data broken out to the top age bracket of 85and over, we have redistributed the last age bracket providedby each State according to the Census population data for thoseparticular age brackets in that particular State.
USE OF DATA
In 1990 (Highway Statistics 1989), astrict standard was established to determine the number of unrestricteddrivers under the age of 16 on the road. This new rule statedthat a driver must be able to drive inclusively between the hoursof 5:00 A.M. and 12 Midnight without another licensed driverin the vehicle. Since this new standard cut the number of driversfrom 1988 to 1995 approximately 60% in the "under 16"category, one must keep this in mind when comparing the datafrom earlier years.