- Jul 12, 2013
Fewer Teens Obtaining Driver's Licenses Due To Gas Costs, Laws
High prices for gas and insurance, coupled with a changing culture are keeping kids off the roads
The car, a symbol of for youthful rebellion for decades, may be losing its appeal among teenagers: A study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute showed that fewer than 30 percent of 16-year-olds and only about 45 percent of 17-year-olds had a driver's license in 2010.
The high cost of gas and insurance -- as well as more restrictive driving laws for teens -- are primarily to blame for the drop. Researchers also speculated that parents are now more willing to chauffeur teens.
In 1983 nearly half of all 16-year-olds and almost 70 percent of 17-year-olds had a license. The rate of teens with a driver's license 30 years later has dropped by half.
That may not be such a bad trend. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway safety kids ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash then their 20-year-old counterparts.
Time magazine has claimed that social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have replaced the car culture of the past, allowing teens to connect with each other without needing a car. The current trend in the auto industry is integration of smartphone technology and user experience into cars to make driving more of a social networking activity, perhaps in the hopes of reclaiming this shrinking demographic.