Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fewer teens driving

16-year-old licensed drivers (by year)

According to the Post, More teens are choosing to wait to get driver's licenses, which we think is a good thing. According to NHSTA, "traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America."

It's become more difficult to get a license as a teenager. 60 hours of instruction are needed, and many schools are cutting back on driver's ed. Then there's the cost of gas, insurance, a vehicle.

Technology has also had an impact:
Michelle Wei, 19, who got her license as a senior, was happy to walk to school and carpool to soccer games. Most of her friends lived within a few blocks. "If I couldn't get a ride to see my friend who lives a town over, I could talk on IM," she said. "Or Skype." The digital world, she said, "made it very easy not to drive."
We've got the perfect solution; ride a bike. Most teens live within a short ride from school. They'll get some exercise and won't be as dependent on parents or other teens for getting around.

[Update 26Jan2010: A followup letter to the editor appeared in Today's Post, D.C. transit makes it easier for teens to put off driving:
Although this area deserves a better Metro system, the current system transports many teenagers who have places to go, increasing their independence. Most older teenagers don't have parents willing to drive them around, nor do they want to stay home on weekends. My son, a high school senior, has been using Metrobus and rail since he was 12 to get to school, friends' houses, downtown Washington, and—since it was built—Nationals Park.
Jenifer Madden wrote about her son's experiences riding the bus a while back in the Post.]


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