Gen Z Is In No Rush To Drive

Pretty much every generation from Baby Boomers to Gen X couldn't wait to get their driver's license. It was a huge milestone that meant freedom, independence, the ability to go to our friends' houses whenever we wanted to and more. Today's teens are.........well, different. While some are just as eager as we were to get behind the wheel, there's a whole bunch of young folks who have little to no interest in driving. Data collected from the Federal Highway Administration showed that in 2018 approximately 61% of 18-year-olds in the U.S. had a driver’s license, down from 80% percent in 1983. The number of 16-year-olds with licenses decreased from 46% to 25% in the same period. What the heck is going on with Gen Z? One obvious difference between today's young people and their parents' generation is the way they communicate with their peers. If we wanted to talk to our friends, we had two choices — a phone call on a landline or seeing our friends in person. Kids today have countless options to talk to their friends in a variety of ways, without having to go anywhere. While our generation thought video calls on handheld devices were the stuff of Jetsons-like future eras, our kids have never known life without them. The desire to go out and be social isn't as urgent with kids today because it simply isn't as necessary. Another difference is the expansion of public transportation and improvements in attitudes toward using it. In older generations, unless you lived in New York City, using public transportation was simply not cool. Throw in today's ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft, and the need for driving yourself diminishes drastically. The reasons for Gen Z not wanting to drive may be varied, but not wanting to learn to drive doesn't mean they shouldn't. If they ever get stuck someplace and need to be able to drive legally, they need to have a driver's license. We don't seem to be heading toward a truly carless future anytime soon, so Gen Z may want to rethink their reticence and at least learn how to drive, even if they have no intention of driving. If they do ever choose to get a license, the best they can hope for is that it's not written in cursive.