HOUSTON — It used to be getting behind the wheel was a rite of passage for teenagers. They were often racing to the DMV on their birthdays. However, that is changing.
According to the Federal Highway Administration in 1983, 80% of 18-year-olds had their driver’s license. That number is now down to 60%. When you look at 16-year-olds during the same time, the numbers drop from 46% to 25%.
Teens connect virtually in the digital age
According to The Washington Post, that is because teens are navigating a different world. A driver’s license used to be the key to teenage freedom but that has changed in the digital age.
Teens can connect to their friends virtually, meaning they don’t have to drive to meet up. They also have more options if they do hit the road, turning to ride-share services if they need a lift.
Rising anxiety and depression in teens
A mental health expert tells the Post that rising levels of anxiety and depression among teens could also be throwing up a roadblock. The added stress of dealing with traffic, road rage, and aggressive drivers could be turning off already frazzled teenagers.
Tracking apps add to the stress for teens
Some parents may be adding to the stress. Apps like Life 360 allow parents to see how fast you are driving, how quickly you brake, and even if you pick up your phone. For parents, it may seem like a great safety feature but for teens, it can be added stress.