A new survey of 18- and 19-year-olds pinpoints the reason why fewer of them — just six in 10 as of 2010 — own driver’s licenses compared to the previous generation, and it’s not the reason some seem to think: Just over 56 percent of respondents said they simply don’t have the time to invest in getting one. University of Michigan researcher Brandon Schoettle says it’s a matter of priorities, and getting a driver’s license “has just fallen down the list.” His team is the same one that first reported the decline in driving among Americans beginning in 2004.
What’s the Big Idea?
The influence of mobile devices and the Internet on young people was assumed to be one big reason why fewer of them were driving. However, while 49 percent of those surveyed said they spent between one and four hours online daily, and another 35 percent claimed to spend five to 12 hours online, none of them blamed their devices for their not having a license. Also, only one percent said they didn’t drive because of concerns about the environment. Automakers nervous about cars losing cool points with the young might want to consider focusing on baby boomers instead, suggests researcher Michael Sivak.