Why Fewer Young Adults Are Driving
It was once the ultimate sign of freedom from your parents: the day you got driver's license. But a new study shows a changing trend for young adults in the United States.
The research from the University of Michigan finds that just 3 in 4 people ages 20 to 24 have a driver's license.
Those figures shadow a 2013 AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety survey, which found 44 percent of adults aged 18-20 got their license in the first 12 months of being eligible. Another 54 percent said they got their driver's license by age 18.
"We found that a lot of teens are delaying getting their driver's license," said Sue Madden, AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesperson.
There are many factors that are fueling this shifting trend, which Madden says starts with the financial concerns.
"Getting your license can be an expensive process," she said. "You have to own a car or have access to a car. You're going to need car insurance."
But, the way the world works nowadays is having a big impact in shaping millennials' indifferent attitude about having a license.
The emergence of ride-sharing apps, such as Uber and Lyft, now serve as alternate options, especially for young adults living in cities or urban areas.
"Some of them also said they can get around without a car, so that's having a huge impact on why kids are delaying getting their licenses," Madden explained.
New Jersey also has a very stringent and involved process to get a driver's license, which is a turn-off and nuisance for many teens.
And the most overriding factor may be social media and smartphones.
Young adults and teens used to rely on their car to go meet up with friends or a significant other. Today, however, technology now offers endless options for communication.
"What we're seeing now is that a lot of kids are connecting online with friends," Madden said.
One positive from this new trend is a reduction in the number of crashes involving teens, according to Madden.
Still, the current way of life for these youngsters is a sharp contrast to previous generations, who were itching for their independence.
"There isn't that urge for kids to get out of their houses and go meet up at the mall. They just don't seem to be doing that anymore."