Study finds that fewer young people getting their driver’s license

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On Thursday, a study was released by the University of Michigan that shows that in comparison to the youth of the 1980’s, less have been getting their driver’s licenses.

In 2008, 75 percent of 19-year olds obtained their license, while back in 1983, 87 percent held theirs.

As for the older population, more have been keeping a license for longer, with 90 percent of 65-69 year olds keeping their license in 2008, up from the 79 percent from 1983. The 55 percent of those with a license in the over 70 group was up to 78 percent in 2008.

Over half of drivers in 1983 were under 40, and one-third were under 30, compared to 2008’s 22 percent of under 30 drivers.

Teenage driver’s numbers are down as well, with 80 percent of 18-year-olds driving in 1983 compared to 65 percent in 2008, 69 percent of 17-year-old driving in 1983, while only 50 did in 2008, and the 46 percent of 16-year-old drivers dropped to 31 percent.

Automakers are speculating that technology may be responsible for the decline in numbers. “It is possible that the availability of virtual contact through electronic means reduces the need for actual contact among young people,” said Michael Sivak, research professor at the U-M Transportation Research Institute. “Furthermore, some young people feel that driving interferes with texting and other electronic communication.”

Another study conducted by Brandon Schoettle, an associate of Sivak and UMTRI took a look at different angles of the same data. This research shows that the young population makes up a smaller percentage of all drivers, but is also a smaller part of the population.

Drivers over 70 were the largest percentage in 2008 at over 10 percent, just over the next biggest group, which are drivers in between 40-60.

In the more recent years, the percentage of people on the road between their late 50’s and early 60’s are up to 95 percent, compared to the 84 percent in 1983.

In the future, states may be more open to the possibility of retesting older drivers with so many on the road. Over 20 percent of divers will be over 65 by 2025.

– By: Alexandra Koken

Source: Detroit News