That's a significant drop, and its brought about in part by the fact that some states have moved the licensing age from 16 to 18, but Automotive News sites a few sources that claim the internet is to blame. With everything available at your fingertips, why bother with the expense and hassle of owning a car? Likewise, driving a car makes using mobile internet devices like smart phones and laptops less than convenient compared to public transportation.
The article goes on to say that young folk also point to environmental concerns as one of the largest reasons for foregoing a driver's license. Whatever the cause, manufacturers are likely looking at this information with a worried eye, just as Japan's automakers have been doing for the last 10 years.
[Source: Automotive News]