Studies Show Teens Waiting Longer to Drive

Posted on May 24, 2013 by

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Obtaining a driver’s license is a large step in one’s life. It provides the owner with freedoms and opportunities not present before he or she acquired one.

The minimum age to obtain a license in the United States varies from fourteen to seventeen depending on state laws; however, new statistics are coming forward that fewer and fewer teens are earning their driver’s licenses when of age.

According to studies done by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), young Americans are not rushing to get their driver’s licenses as soon as they are eligible.

The research done by UMTRI revealed statistics that shows a decline in younger drivers on the road over the past thirty years. According to UMTRI, one-third of all licensed drivers in the United States were under thirty in 1982. Only 22% of drivers on the road today are under thirty, marking a steady decline.

Another statistic shows that 69% of 17-year-olds had their license in 1983, while in 2008 only 50% of 17-year-old Americans had one. It shows that teens are simply waiting longer to obtain a license, as opposed to getting one as soon as possible a few decades ago.

The United States is not the only place where teens are waiting longer to drive. A different study discovered that 7 of 14 different countries, including Germany and Canada, shared the same trends of fewer and fewer teens on the road.

The trend has been known to be going on in Japan for even more than ten years.

So, if fewer and fewer teenagers are obtaining their driver’s licenses, what could be the cause of these trends?

One reason could be the reliance on technology to communicate, which would reduce the need for actual contact among other people. There could be other reasons as well, such as a weak economy, high unemployment in young people, and the expenses of buying and owning a car.

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