It was just a couple weeks ago that I was telling you about a study that shows how most teens want to own their own cars. Regardless of what teenagers want, though, data from the Federal Highway Administration shows that there are fewer 16-year-old drivers in this country now than at any time since the 1960s. The data from 2014 shows that about 8.49 million teens had their licenses and, of those, only 1.08 million were 16 years old or younger. So, who or what should automakers blame and transit authorities thank?

The almighty Internet is one culprit. Remember when you were a kid, and you wanted to talk to or play with your friends? You had to find an available phone and arrange to meet up in person. Perish the thought! Nowadays, Kids can keep in constant contact with their friends, even play games with them, through their computers or smartphones, with social media, text messaging, and countless apps dedicated to keeping them connected.

The recent recession took its toll on young Americans.

Other possibilities for the low number of teen drivers could include economic ones, as the IIHS suggested in 2013. The recent recession took its toll on young Americans, and the cost of buying, insuring, and maintaining a vehicle just doesn't fit into a lot of teenagers' budgets. With lower gas prices, though, it's possible that more youngsters begin to see vehicle ownership as a little more achievable. Looking back to 2013, though, many teens were saying that it was their busy lives kept them from getting a license.

It's possible, too, that the newest generation of potential drivers are taking after Millenials in espousing an attitude or worldview that just doesn't value ownership as much as previous generations. Perhaps, too, some teenagers who grew up wanting a car change their minds when it's time to actually plunk down the cash for their own set of wheels. With new carsharing services, improved public transit, and friends with cars, the freedom that driving a private car affords them isn't all that much more than they already have.

That brings us back around to the Internet, which serves as a great resource for figuring out how to get around. With ridesharing, transit schedules, and other information at the ready, planning to get from point A to point B via multiple modes of transportation is as easy as typing in two addresses.

So, now that we've seen the data showing that young people drive less, how long do you think it will take until a new study or data set suggests the opposite? If you choose to take these studies with a grain of salt, I don't blame you, especially when it comes to determining motivations. After all, is there any exercise so futile as to trying to figure out what goes through a teenager's head?

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