• Feb 29, 2008

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]



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  • 52 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Frylock350- if your ass is doing 64 and sports cars are riding your ass, I sure hope you're NOT in the passing lane. Otherwise you're just another SUV driver giving us all a bad name.
      • 6 Years Ago
      While I am glad there are less 16 year olds driving, I still would like to see my kids driving when they are 16.

      As for the price of driving schools, there is nothing that a driving school teaches a teenager than can prepare them for driving in the real world.

      Racing schools, karting and other motorsports are the best way to install a respect of speed and the reality of what "fast" really is. Passing cars doing the legal speed limit is not fast.

      Most modern economy cars can do 0-60 in less than 9 seconds and manage over 110mph with little effort, scary thoughts for most parents. My first car was a 49bhp 1976 Chevette. I was lucky to coax it to 60 in less than 20seconds and downhill it MIGHT do 75mph.

      Add in the advent of GPS computers that report back to mom and dad where, when and how a child gets to their destination and you can see why kids are foregoing a license for other luxuries like tech toys and tips abroad.

      Having kids who think cars are not their ticket to adulthood is a good thing. Mental and emotional maturity is far better goal than keys to a car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah I was in the "the insurance is too expensive". Living in NYC it was something like 2000-3000 dollars to cover me alone on top of my parents insurance. That wasn't gonna happen. I think atleast in NYC it's the insurance rates that make it impracticle. I'd wish scooters that reached 45 mph would only requier a C class permit ie a permit for cars.

      And someone mentioned that you can drive anywhere on a scooter which isn't true in NY. You can only stay in certain lanes depending on the class scooter you own. It's rediculous. In France and Italie I rode scooters with no problem. Over there no permit is requiered.

      You know Mayor Bloomberg wants to charge a congestion fee but if scooters were more accessible, that is no motorcycle license, we wouldn't have as much traffic in town.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I made sure I got my license when I was 16. I am 17 now, and I love driving. I would say I am a pretty safe driver. But, I notice that not many of my friends have licenses, and they are always asking for rides, but with the new laws in California, you can't drive anyone under the age of 21 for a year after you get you license, and I still have a couple months. And, the insurance is cheaper if you get a classic car, like my 1970 Dodge Dart (although the gas is a bit much).
      • 6 Years Ago
      I didn't get my DL until 17 back in 1987. I could ride my bike to school or take the D.C. metro to work so it was no big deal. I occasionally got rides from my parents but it wasn't the default situation.

      I think the cost of gas has a bit to do with this too
      • 6 Years Ago
      Man. My first motorcycle was age 11. I drove those and mopeds on the small roads. I started driving CARS on the roads at 14. Licensed at 16. And living on my own at 18.

      That's the way it should be. (ahem, all posts are my opinion, of course)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm twenty-two, and all I have to say is (for the most part): good. I can't count the number of times I've witnessed an almost-accident because some stupid kid (typically a teenaged girl, not to stereotype or sound sexist) decided that talking or texting on their cell phone (which isn't illegal in Wisconsin) was more important than staying in the proper lane on the high way, accelerating at a light when it turns green, or safely navigating their way through a variety of parking lots, many of which seem to involve the mall.

      Also, that girl: I'd hit it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        ...classy.

        especially with the "16-year-old" headline.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah, driving has become a pain in the ass.

      I love automobiles and driving to death, but once the car notes, the insurance and gas (which is becoming something to be considered with the same weight as a utility bill) starts becoming a reality, honeymoon over.

      For about 1 one year I was sans auto in NYC and it didn't matter that it didn't matter. Say what you will about its residents, but the Metro system kicks any other city's ass. Funny thing, I notice this extra lump in my wallet at the time. It turned out to be...what's that called...oh yeah, disposable income.

      Oh, well. I'll always reminisce those halcyon days with the '89 Olds Cutlass Supreme and 90 cent regular. 3.1 (?) V6, but probably only made 180-190hp. Still a lot of power for a 17 year old.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yeah Im 16 and I went thru a bunch of b.s. to get it but the day I turned 16 I got my licence.
      • 6 Years Ago
      My parents made sure I got my license at 16 (back in 1999). They needed someone else in the house to run errands and chauffeur my little brothers around.

      I'm still glad I got my license before Virginia pushed the minimum driving age up 8 months.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't know where this study came from because my life is still focused on my DL and car. I'm just worried about it interfering with my school.
      Before obtaining my license, I was in a state of frustration and almost a.d.d.
      Now a days, I'm just interested in maxing it out on the track :]
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, im 15, and still anxiously waiting for my license.... It is weird, i used to live in brazil. i LOVED to hold my dad's wheel (not actually driving) and passing gears in his VW (which was a 2002). I was nine at the time, but i since then, i've always been interested in cars. nobody taught me, i've always been an observer. I can't believe olther teenagers are just letting their parents chauffeur them around.. it's GREAT to knkow that you can go somewhere without having to depend on the mood of your parent.... still can't wait.
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