Monday, January 13, 2020

Teens Are Driving Less

The nation's teenagers are driving less than they once did. Only 50 percent of 16-to-17-year-olds drive on an average day, according to the 2017 National Household Travel Survey. This is down from 58 percent in 2009 and 63 percent in 2001.

Percentage of 16-to-17-year-olds who drive on an average day
2017: 50%
2009: 58%
2001: 63%

What's behind the decline in teen driving? One factor is that fewer 16-to-17-year-olds have a driver's license. Only 27 percent of 16-year-olds had a driver's license in 2018, down from 34 percent in 2001. Among 17-year-olds, the figure fell from 54 to 46.5 percent during those years, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

But there may be another reason for teens' lack of interest in cars. As the National Household Travel Survey report explains, "given the fact that teens have grown up in a society that is largely connected by technology, their travel patterns may be different in 2017 as compared to 2001." In other words, the smartphone is an easier and cheaper way to stay in touch with friends than the automobile.

Source: Federal Highway Administration, National Household Travel Survey, Travel Trends for Teens and Seniors

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