MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It appears the majority of teenagers in the U.S. are delaying getting a driver’s license.
A recent study by the Triple A Foundation for Traffic Safety found a significant drop in the number of young people licensed to drive by the time they are 18.
Twenty years ago it was two-thirds of teens.
Today it’s just over half.
A national survey by Triple A reveals yet another sign that being a teenager is much different than it was a generation ago.
Many of them are in no rush to fulfill the requirements to get a driver’s license.
In fact only 44 percent are obtaining a license within a year of the minimum age in their state.
Pete Hosmer is the owner of A Plus Driving School in White Bear Lake.
“When I took driver’s ed, all my friends, the minute you turned 16 you wanted to get your license,” Hosmer said.
He says he’s noticed a shift in the sense of urgency.
“I’m not sure why the reason is for it, probably because they have other options to get around, and maybe parents just keep driving their child, or they can’t afford it. Or public transportation, yeah. We’ve seen more and more older students start taking driver’s ed,” Hosmer said.
Here are some of the reasons for the delay cited in the Triple A study.
Forty-four percent said it was because they didn’t have a car.
Thirty-nine percent said they could get around without driving.
Thirty-six said gas was too expensive.
And 35 percent noted they “Just didn’t get around to it.”
I talked with a group of teenagers taking a class for the written portion of the driver’s test.
“I mean, it’s up to you, you can take it as slow as you want. Don’t rush it for sure. Can’t be worried about all the stories you hear because you just have to trust yourself,” said Jordan Anderson.
Many of the students in this class are just 14 years old and eager to get behind the wheel.
“I”ll be able to take myself places whenever I want to, I won’t need to wait for my parents’ permission,” said Owen Gallatin.
In Minnesota, you can get a driver’s license at age 16 but there’s a required minimum number of hours of classroom instruction and behind-the-wheel instruction, before you can take the driver’s license test.