How Texting, Social Media Reducing Teen Interest in Obtaining Driver's License

By Joel Arellano | July 24, 2012
There's another generation following the so-called "Gen Y," commonly known as Millenials. They're called Generation N, as in "neutral in driving." Pegged by Automotive News, the new nomenclature refers to today's teens and their continued lack of interest in vehicles, driving, or even obtaining a driver's license. This view, which we've reported as far back as 2009 and at the beginning of the year, has automakers scrambling to figure out what best combo -- in design, engine, and technology -- will get such teens to their dealerships. Unfortunately, for automakers, the news continues to worsen. University of Michigan researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle confirm in yet another study that teen disinterest in driving continues, and may even be accelerating.
Back in 1987, 87-percent of 19-year old teens, 80-percent of 18-year old, and 69-percent of 17-year old teenagers had a driver's license. Those figures have dropped to 75-percent, 65-percent, and 50-percent by 2008. For 2010, only 70-percent of 19-year old teens, 61-percent of 18-year old, and 46-percent 17-year old teenagers have obtained their licenses. Sivak and Schoettle point to the Internet as potentially the main source in drop in licenses. Says Sivak, "In our previous research, we found that the percentage of young drivers was inversely related to the proportion of Internet users. Virtual contact, through electronic means, reduces the need for actual contact." Interestingly, the researchers discovered drops in driving licenses in all age categories except young adults (25-29) and those over 70-years of age. The researchers based their findings from data obtained from the Federal Highway Administration and U.S. Census Bureau.'s take: What do you think of Sivak and Schoettle's latest conclusion? Findings from other studies also point to increasing regulation, costs of vehicles, school loans, and lack of jobs reducing teens' interest in obtaining their drivers license. As always, let us know in the comments below. Source: Automotive News (Subscription required)