Have teenagers gone nuts? The Federal Highway Administration is reporting that the percentage of teenagers with driver's licenses is going down. Yeah, decreasing! What is up with that?

When I was growing up, my teenage years focused on just one objective... driving. All I wanted was to get my driver's license. That little card with your picture on it was the golden ticket. You could borrow your parent's car, fill the tank (and grab a candy bar) for $20, and nobody could reach you until you returned. We didn't have cell phones, text messaging or GPS tracking. A driver's license represented freedom.

So, what happened? Experts aren't blaming unmotivated teenagers. Instead, they point the finger at the environment in which we are raising our kids. In today's world, parents are much more likely to chauffeur their teenagers from place to place. Tighter state laws govern when kids can drive, and in many cases legislation has pushed the driving age limit higher. Fewer high schools are offering driver's education classes, forcing parents to pay for more expensive private instruction, and steeper rates are making insurance cost-prohibitive for the high-risk teen-age category. Top it all off with gasoline at more than three-dollars per gallon, and maybe a driver's license just doesn't represent what it used to.

[Source: New York Times]