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Drivers License

The Brian Lehrer Show

No Time for Driving

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Alex Goldmark, reporter for WNYC's Transportation Nation, talks about the latest survey to show fewer teens are getting licensed to drive. 

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Transportation Nation

Young Adults: We're Just Too Busy to Get Driver's Licenses, Says Survey

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

WNYC

Kids today: they just don't drive like they used to. There's been speculation as to what's behind the national decline in driving. Now, a new survey asked hundreds of unlicensed people just why they're not queuing up at the DMV. Here's what they said.

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Transportation Nation

Study Confirms Fewer Young People Getting Driver’s Licenses

Friday, July 20, 2012

(Hover your mouse over the chart for more details)

Young people aren't lining up to drive like they used to. Year over year, fewer 16 to 24 year-olds are getting driver's licenses according to a new study released today by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute.

Take 16 year-olds: In 2008, 31 percent of them got driver's licenses. In 2010 it fell to 28 percent. That's part of a steady trend the researchers track back to 1983. That's when Return of the Jedi, Scarface and The Outsiders were in theaters, and 46 percent of 16 year-olds were licensed to drive. Now, with Netflix and iTunes, they don't need wheels to get to the movies.

Take this response we received from a listener in Florida when our partner The Takeaway asked young people about their driving habits:
"I drive less because I have become a couch potato. The Internet takes me anywhere I want to go. And services like Netflix provide entertainment at the touch of a button. It’s also a lot more affordable."

The U. Mich study found that the driver's license drop was a bit sharper for older teens: the percentage fell five percent for 18 year-olds from 2008 to 2010. Using Census and Federal Highway Administration data, the researchers identified a general decline in the percentage of people who sign up for a driver's license across almost all age groups, but it was especially pronounced for younger would-be drivers.

Study author Michael Sivak explained to Transportation Nation what he thinks is driving the trend:

"We think that there are three main reasons for the reduced percentage of young persons with a driver's license:
  • Electronic communication reduces the need for actual contact (and some young people feel that driving interferes with texting)
  • Current economic downturn is making it more difficult for young persons to buy and maintain a vehicle
  • Young people are moving in increasing numbers to large cities with reasonable public transportation (e.g., New York and San Francisco)"

See the full study in the Journal of Traffic Injury Prevention.

 

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Transportation Nation

Teens And Learning To Drive: Not Enough Practice, Not Enough Variation

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

(Kate Hinds, Transportation Nation) How well are parents doing in terms of teaching their teenagers to drive?  Not so great, according to a recent study.

"Teens have the highest crash rate of any group in the United States." And motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and the University of North Carolina's Highway Safety Research Center installed cameras in the cars of 52 families for four months shortly after the teenagers obtained their learner's permits.  (The sample videos on the AAA website range from bracing to hair-raising.)  The tapes revealed parents often don't spend enough time teaching their teens to drive -- and they tend to stick to the same types of driving situations.

Image: AAA

Supervised driving experience often accounted for less than two hours a week, and a lot of that experience was under benign conditions in residential neighborhoods. There was very little practice under more challenging circumstances-- highways, heavy city traffic, at night, or in bad weather.

The parent-teen relationship was also key, with many parents and teens struggling to maintain equilibrium during the emotionally charged process of learning to drive.  On the one hand, you have to feel for the parents, whom the study says, has to balance being "a driving instructor, mentor, role model and psychologist." On the other hand:  16% of teens refused to drive with one of the parents because they perceived them as being hypercritical.  But as always, perception is key:   "From the driving clips, yelling between parents and teens was rarely observed. On the other hand, there were a number of instances where a teen told their parent to stop yelling when the parent’s voice was barely raised, if at all."

While most states require 50 hours of practice before a license is awarded, the AAA Foundation would like to see 100 hours of quality time.  As the report says, "Parents in the present study seemed well aware that  'lots of driving experience' is key to learning. What they did not seem to grasp is the importance of 'appropriate experience."

Read the report here (pdf).

To see the permit and licensing systems are in each state, click here (pdf).

Watch clips of the driving videos here. (.wmv)

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