It’s a commonly held belief that young people are not interested in cars. As the narrative goes, they’d rather rely on public transportation and play with their iPhones than drive. But a new study released by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Highway Loss Data Institute tells a different story.
This fancy-sounding and redundantly named group reviewed insurance information on teenage drivers and found that their collective drop in driving coincides with the economic downturn. Apparently high unemployment and rising costs are to blame.
According to insurance company AAA the average cost to drive 10,000 miles in a year has jumped significantly. Back in 2006 it worked out to 62 cents per mile, but last year it was a whopping 77 cents. Thanks to these issues it appears teens simply can’t afford to drive.
Paying for a car plus the insurance and fuel can add up to a nasty bill each month and this has proven to be insurmountable for unemployed youth. Take Michigan for instance, one of the hardest-hit states by the Great Recession. In 2009 there were some 460,000 drivers on the road that were 19 years of age or younger. But over the next three years that figure dropped by 7 percent to about 427,000. You can thank the economic downturn for that.
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Nationwide the trend was nearly identical. The number of teen driers fell by 12 percent between 2006 and 2012.
Another deterrent to getting a driver’s license is the restrictions placed on young motorists. Many states have instituted graduated licenses that restrict the hours they can drive and how many passengers they can have in the car.
iDevices or not, America’s youth has been hard-hit by the lousy economy, but as things start to improve it’s likely more of them will take to the roads. Buckle your seatbelt…