Drivers in the United States railing against the wild driving habits of teenagers may have to find another target for their road rage after the release of a new survey indicating that over the last three decades a smaller proportion of young Americans has been getting drivers’ licenses.
Researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle from the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan compared the percentage of people of different age groups with drivers’ licenses in the United States in 1983, 2008, 2011 and 2014. The study found that in every year examined, there has been a decrease in the percentage of 16- to 44-year-olds with driver’s licenses in the U.S.
From 1983 to 2014, for instance, there’s been a huge drop of 47 percentage points in 16-year-olds with drivers’ licenses. For people ages 20 to 24, there’s been a 16 percentage point decrease over the same time span. And for those ages 30 to 34, the decrease has been about 10 percentage points.
The authors would not speculate as to the reason for the decreases, but a survey they conducted in 2013 of 618 respondents between the ages of 18 and 39 found that the primary reason reported for not having a driver’s license was that people were simply too busy (37%), followed closely by the cost of of owning and maintaining a vehicle (32%), and the ease of getting a ride from someone else (31%). The authors did not, apparently, survey the friends from whom respondents were constantly mooching rides for their own opinions on the matter.
Further down the list of reasons for not getting a license in the 2013 survey were a preference for biking or walking (22%), public transportation (17%), concern for the environment 9%), the ability to do business online (8%), and disability (7%).