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Home / Articles / Columnists / Happy Motoring /  Many teens opting out on getting a driver’s license
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Thursday, August 2,2018

Many teens opting out on getting a driver’s license

By Teresa Aquila  

New car features are all the rage from backup cameras, parking assist and avoidance sensors helping to reduce accidents and rear end collisions. Each year brings more sophisticated components and soon, many autonomous vehicles will be traveling down our roadways. They are still in the testing stages today.

You might think that taking your driver’s road test will be a breeze with all the assistance these newer vehicles offer, making it attractive to own a car today. When I was 15 1/2, I couldn’t wait to get my learner’s permit, then turning 16 I was at the doors of the DMV excited to take the required tests and become a driver. It meant freedom and no more waiting for someone to drive me around. Cars were much simpler then.

Today, teenagers are holding off getting their driver’s license. Going places is no longer the main reason to connect with friends; now they have the internet and cell phones, using means like Snapchat, Facebook or being a gamer which allow you to hang out together without being together.

Many teens feel that it takes too much time and effort to get a driver’s license that will not benefit them right now. According to a new study by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, the percentage of people with a driver’s license decreased between 2011 and 2014, across all age groups. For people aged 16 to 44, that percentage has been decreasing steadily since 1983.

It’s especially pronounced for teens, In 2014, just 24.5 percent of 16-year-olds had a license, a 47 percent decrease from 1983, when 46.2 percent did. And at the tail end of the teen years, 69 percent of 19-year-olds had licenses in 2014, compared to 87.3 percent in 1983, a 21 percent decrease.

Among young adults, the declines are smaller but still significant: 16.4 percent fewer 20-to-24-year-olds had licenses in 2014 than in 1983, 11 percent fewer 25-to-29-year-olds, 10.3 percent fewer 30-to-34-year-olds, and 7.4 percent fewer 35-to-39-year-olds. For people between 40 and 54, the declines were small, less than 5 percent.

For those still looking to obtain a driver’s license, you might think with all the new features on vehicles today, one could pass the road test without much time for studying or hours behind the wheel as is required in most states.

Not so. This new technology is not meant to be an avenue to easy driving. The driver is still required to take control of the vehicle when the onboard computers that operate the sensors fail.

Most states are requiring that during the road test for new drivers, all of the driving assist sensors must be turned off. The drive test, or road test as many call it, is still about the skill of the driver, not how well the car can perform on its own. So if you are in the market for your driver’s license, study and practice, you’ll need it.

These features are great for the handicapped or elderly, but for the everyday driver, are people losing their ability to drive without a computer lending a hand? In Nevada, the Department of Motor Vehicles will begin a campaign to educate the public about what is required before a scheduling a knowledge or road test for a new driver.

In Nevada, here are the requirements for young drivers:

Students attending high school must have the principal or other school official complete Section 1 of the form.

Students who are excused from attendance requirements because of disability or home schooling must have a parent or guardian complete the first part of Section 2.

Students who have completed high school or the equivalent must have a parent or guardian complete the first part of Section 2, complete the second part of Section 2 and provide a diploma or a Certificate of High School Equivalency.

These requirements do not apply to applicants 18 and older regardless of school attendance or status.

So, if you or your teenager is contemplating becoming a driver, check your state’s requirements. Each state varies. Happy Motoring.


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