Fewer Teens Have Driver's Licenses

A blog about business and economics.
Dec. 27 2011 2:03 PM

Fewer Teens Have Driver's Licenses

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More teens are doing without the car.

Photo by PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/Getty Images

"In 2008, just 31 percent of American 16-year-olds had their driver's licenses, down from 46 percent in 1983, according to a new study in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention. The numbers were down for 18-year-olds too, from 80 percent in 1983 to 65 percent in 2008, and the percentage of twenty- and thirtysomethings with driver's licenses fell as well." Lisa Hymas in Grist.

From my perspective growing up in Manhattan, one of the absolute best things about city living is that it provides a way for younger teens to get around without asking mom for a ride, and for older teens to hang out without their parents being terrified that they're going to get themselves killed drunk driving. In general, automobile accidents remain an underrated social and economic problem that have a terrible tendency to cut people down in the prime of life. It's excellent that we've made a lot of progress in this field over the past couple of decades but there are many more gains to be had and a lot of them relate to making it easier for people in the reckless/oft-intoxicated demographic to get around without driving.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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