Fewer teens have been putting themselves in the driver’s seat and obtaining a license.
One in three teens nationwide now waits to get his or her license until turning 18, according to a new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This trend also holds true with Arizona teens. Since 2008, there has been a more than 3 percent drop statewide in 16- to 18-year-olds getting their license, according to the most recent data from Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).
“The costs of gas prices and maintaining a car are causing teens to delay licensure,” said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. “As a leader in driver safety, we encourage teens to educate themselves before they do get that license.”
According to ADOT, fewer teens also have been killed in fatal crashes since 2008. In 2008, 81 teens were killed in a crash in Arizona, compared to 56 teens in 2012. Many experts believe the drop in crashes has been helped from instituting graduated driver’s licensing, which became law in 2008 in Arizona.
As an advocate for the safety and the security of the motoring public, AAA Arizona offers free and low-cost education opportunities for budding drivers. This year, more than 800 teens and their parents have attended AAA Arizona’s Permit Prep 101, a free 90-minute workshop that helps prepare teens to take the driving test.
According to AAA traffic safety experts, the top five reasons teens are delaying licensure are:
- Lack of resources: Many teens don’t have someone to teach them, access to a car or can’t afford a driving school.
- Daunting costs: Maintenance, gas and insurance often are beyond a teen’s means.
- The intimidation factor: Other drivers and driving conditions frighten some teens.
- Parental guidance: Many parents would rather drive their kids rather than give them the keys.
- No need: With the increasing popularity of cell phones and social media, there’s no need to go over to friends’ houses or the mall.
It is a different world, that’s for sure. I think that I was waiting outside the MVD for the doors to open to get my license on my 16th birthday.