Four different studies show that America young people are driving less than previous generations, and many aren’t even bothering to get a driver’s license. Since 1983, the percentage of 19-year-olds with driver’s licenses fell from 87% to 70%. For 17-year-olds, it fell from 69% to just 46%. Insurance companies report a 12% drop in covered teen drivers since 2006. Teen traffic fatalities are also falling.
There are several theories about what’s happening.
1. Teens “hang out” via social media–Facebook, texting, etc. No need to be physically together. International data shows that the higher the internet use in a country, the lower the number of young people with driver’s licenses.
2. Teens can’t afford to drive. Can’t get good enough jobs to pay the car, gas, insurance, and upkeep.
3. Young people are opting for alternative transportation, and choosing life habits which require less time on the road.
4. They haven’t gotten around to it yet. In one survey, 37% of teens said they’re just too busy to get a driver’s license. (Too busy with what?)