27 January 2010

More Teens Waiting to Drive

In the Washington Post Sunday:

...The quest to get a driver's license at 16 -- long an American rite of passage-- is on the wane among the digital generation, which no longer sees the family car as the end-all of social life...

...Focused on tough classes, the debate team, dance and color guard... "It just wasn't a priority,...It was just never the next thing that needed to get done in my life."...

...a striking national shift: 30.7 percent of 16-year-olds got their licenses in 2008, compared with 44.7 percent in 1988...

..."In this economy, if my daughter were to drive, just the insurance would be $1,200 a year or more, and that's a lot of money," ...

...Johnson notes that his college-age children still don't have licenses. "Neither one has risen to the occasion," he said. "Both have decided that Washington, D.C., is a great place to use their 'BMW' -- bus, Metro, walk."

...Plenty of parents don't want their children driving at 16, given the congestion and peril of the Washington area's roads and the fact that car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths...

6 comments:

VisuaLingual said...

Wow, I'm way ahead of the curve on this one.

CityKin said...

What, you were you on the dance team and color guard? ;)

VisuaLingual said...

Actually, in 10th grade, I did briefly end up in a dance gym class. We started by learning, umm, some dance moves that involved humping. I transferred out immediately.

Quim said...

"Barry Johnson, 52, remembers the glory of turning 16 and heading to the Department of Motor Vehicles "on the day you were eligible.
He and his friends worked on their cars in the evening, and on weekends they went out driving"
When he was a teenager you could still get a cheap old car and work on it. Working on a modern car ain't as easy or as cheap.

Dan said...

I'm not sure that I read this in the same optimistic light. I would love to think that more kids are choosing walking/transit over getting their licenses, but I have a bad feeling that's not what's going on (aside from a few places like DC, NYC, etc.). The vast majority of kids live in suburban communities that are almost prohibitive toward walking/transit. I suspect that it's more a case of the shift in how kids spend their time. "Play time" is now spent playing video games, Facebooking, or texting and doesn't require leaving the house. It used to be that you wanted to drive so you could go hang out with your friends wherever/whenever you wanted.

I also wonder about the effect of the helicopter parent/sheltered kid trend. If your mom insists on driving you to all your activities anyway, what's the point in getting a license?

catherine said...

I've already told the kids the legal driving age is 20.