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Fewer teen drivers on the road?

November 4, 2013 - Andrea Johnson
Fewer teens are learning to drive, according to figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

The number of high school seniors with a driver's license nationwide fell from 85 percent in 1996 to 73 percent in 2010, according to the CDC. The same study said 22 percent of high school seniors who were surveyed had not driven a car during the week before taking the survey. An article by the Highway Loss Data Institute attributes most of the decline down to economics. Nationwide, a sluggish economy means that fewer kids can afford to pay for insurance, a driver's license and gas for a car, they reason. The plus side of fewer teen drivers is probably that there are fewer accidents, since inexperienced teen drivers are probably responsible for more accidents than those who are a few years older.

The average age for kids to get a license is about 16 or 17 in most states. I have always thought North Dakota ought to raise the age for kids to get a license to at least 16. Fourteen or 15 seems too young. Judging from the full parking lot at Minot High School-Magic City Campus, I have my doubts that fewer 17 and 18-year-olds here have been putting off getting their driver's licenses. In North Dakota, driving is considered to be a necessity, though somehow I managed to get around via walking, public transportation and begging rides before I finally got my driver's license at 21.

Have you noticed fewer teens on the road? Do you think North Dakota ought to raise the age to get a driver's license?


Article Comments



Nov-11-13 3:32 PM

Licensed, insured, taught drivers cause accidents and injuries and deaths too. Are you really going to try to make this a point?


Nov-11-13 3:31 PM

"That way lies chaos, Matt. Are you truly eager to see a bunch of unlicensed, uninsured, possibly untrained drivers on the road, crashing into cars and leaving their victims responsible for the repair bills?"

And that's different from what licensed, insured, and supposedly trained drivers Are you really going to try to tell me that having a small plastic card somehow magically imparts the skill and knowledge necessary to safely operate a motor vehicle for the remainder of one's life? That way lies superstition, Andrea!


Nov-08-13 7:09 AM

So says you Andrea, haha I know quite a few people who drive better without a drivers license so they don't get noticed. So many people are so willing to change their principles to be in line with the government propaganda crazies.


Nov-07-13 1:02 PM

Anyone who's been hit by an uninsured driver would probably be willing might disagree. Unlicensed, uninsured, untaught drivers cause accidents and injuries and deaths.


Nov-07-13 12:40 PM

or automobile, is not a mere privilege which may be permitted or prohibited at will, but the common Right which he has under his Right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Under this Constitutional guarantee one may, therefore, under normal conditions, travel at his inclination along the public highways or in public places, and while conducting himself in an orderly and decent manner, neither interfering with nor disturbing another's Rights, he will be protected, not only in his person, but in his safe conduct." II Am.Jur. (1st) Constitutional Law, Sect.329, p.1135

and further ...

"Personal liberty -- consists of the power of locomotion, of changing situations, of removing one's person to whatever place one's inclination may direct, without imprisonment or restraint unless by due process of law."


Nov-07-13 12:40 PM

"Personal liberty, or the Right to enjoyment of life and liberty, is one of the fundamental or natural Rights, which has been protected by its inclusion as a guarantee in the various constitutions, which is not derived from, or dependent on, the U.S. Constitution, which may not be submitted to a vote and may not depend on the outcome of an election. It is one of the most sacred and valuable Rights, as sacred as the Right to private property ... and is regarded as inalienable."

This concept is further amplified by the definition of personal liberty:

"Personal liberty largely consists of the Right of locomotion -- to go where and when one pleases -- only so far restrained as the Rights of others may make it necessary for the welfare of all other citizens. The Right of the Citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, by horse drawn carriage, wagon, or automobile, is not a mere privilege which may be perm


Nov-06-13 5:45 PM

That way lies chaos, Matt. Are you truly eager to see a bunch of unlicensed, uninsured, possibly untrained drivers on the road, crashing into cars and leaving their victims responsible for the repair bills? I sympathize with libertarianism to an extent, but I'm afraid that would go way too far.

People have a right to get from point A to point B, but they don't necessarily have a right to drive themselves there.


Nov-06-13 11:54 AM

A rite of passage appears to be passing into the past.

I enjoy following demographics. One of the eye-popping things I've read is how Millenials (defined as the cohort born from roughly to early 1980's until 2000) generally would rather have internet access than a driver's license. Changing tastes may contribute to this.

And no, I don't think ND should raise the age to get a DL. In fact, I don't even believe in DLs. Conveying one's self from Point A to Point B is a fundamental human right. Needing a special permission slip from the state because you happen to choose a certain mode of doing so is a restriction of said fundamental human right.

Nov-05-13 8:20 AM

When I was a teen learning to drive, getting a car was the ultimate event, a rite of passage so to speak. Not so much anymore. Teens are more passionate about their phones than cars.


Nov-05-13 8:02 AM

To funny, there are more kids with cars now than ever in all of time.


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