Young People are Ditching Their Driver’s Licenses: Study

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Young People are Ditching Their Driver’s Licenses: Study

A new study shows that driver’s licenses in the U.S. have been declining in nearly all demographics, but none more so than with young people. 

The study, presented by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, looked at the percentage of people who held driver’s licenses from 1983 to 2014, broken down by age.

The sharpest decline came in the 16- to 44-year old demographic, which has been continuously decreasing since the early 80’s. For example, the 20- to 24-year old category has gone from 91.8% holding licenses in 1983 to 76.7% in 2014.

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If you go even younger, 46.2% of 16-year olds had a license in 1983, compared to 27.5% in 2011 and 24.5% in 2014. That is the largest change documented in the study, followed by 17-year olds, then 18-year olds, showing the trend that the young people of today are not getting their licenses as early or all together.

For 45- to 69-year olds, license holders increased from 1983 to 2008, with the numbers falling slightly since then. As an example of this, 83.8% of drivers who are 60- to 64-years old held licenses in 1983, while 92.7% had a license in 2008. That number dropped to 92.1% in 2014.

The oldest demographic of drivers, 70 and older, increased from 1983 to 2011, from 55% up to 79.2%, then fell to 79% in 2014.

  • Bug S Bunny

    This is a very good thing: fewer novice drivers on the road = fewer wrecks, lower insurance rates for the rest of us, less traffic, etc.

  • Daffy Duck

    Unfortunately, even though there would be fewer novice drivers on the road if there are fewer drivers then the insurance companies will spread their costs among the drivers that are still in their system. So the best outcome is no change in rates but more likely overtime the rates would increase dramatically and would also be partially hidden by the older age of the currently insured.