Guest post written by MyImprov
Do you remember when you
turned 16? Chances are you counted down the days until your birthday so you
could finally get your driver’s license. You were ecstatic to finally have
independence from your parents and make your first big step into adulthood.
However, it seems like teens today just don’t have this same urgency when it
comes to getting their licenses. In fact, USA Today reports that only 73% of
high school seniors had their license in 2010, compared to 85% in 1996.
Why the dramatic
There are many reasons
that teenagers today don’t have the same desire to become drivers as you did
when you were growing up:
- They don’t have to. Bottom
line, if they don’t have a need to get a license, they probably won’t put
forth the effort. If they can get rides from their parents or friends, why
not just stay a passenger for as long as possible? A lot of teens will
also just walk or bike where they need to go, so the cutback in licenses
definitely isn’t due to laziness.
- It’s too expensive. With the
entire country still recovering from a recession, it’s no surprise that
the cost of driving is a big contributing factor. Whether it is the
increased insurance premium or the gas needed to get from point A to point
B, a lot of parents simply can’t afford for their teens to drive. And if
the teens are made responsible for the expenses, the cost of the privilege
is not worth the benefits for many of them.
- They are too busy. For some
reason, teenagers just don’t feel like they have the time to get a
license. However, it really just comes down to not making it a priority.
You had the same amount of homework, and maybe even a job, when you were a
teen and you still found a way. If the desire isn’t there, the driving
practice needed to get a license takes a back seat to homework and
- It’s not essential. With the
Internet at their fingertips, teens just don’t feel as much of a need to
get out. Many of them are perfectly content socializing online, and many
of them even do their shopping that way. If they aren’t leaving the house,
they surely don’t need a car.
Is this good news
or bad news?
Sure, having your
teenager drive is definitely a nice relief from being the go-to taxi driver for
all of your teenager’s activities. However, it is important to remember that
car crashes are the leading cause of death for teens, and drivers ages 16-19
are three times as likely to get into a fatal car crash as drivers over age 20,
according to the CDC. With this in mind, it seems like teenager’s new laid-back
attitude to getting their licenses may actually be a blessing in disguise.
Inconvenient? Absolutely. But if it means your kid doesn’t get into a serious
accident, it’s definitely worth the sacrifice.
If your teen does decide
to get his or her driver’s license, it is important for the parents to be
involved in the teen driver’s education process, including sharing real-life
driving knowledge and observing and critiquing their teen’s behind-the-wheel