The Driver’s License Dilemma

Nadia Fadlu-Deen, Staff Writer

   In recent years, teenagers all across America are waiting longer to get their driver’s license because of a variety of reasons, from environmental concerns, to personal circumstances, to admitted laziness.

   According to USA Today, “The teenage rite of passage of rushing to the DMV on your birthday to get that plastic card that represents freedom has changed dramatically over the last 30 years” ( The rate of teenagers getting their license has decreased by over 20 percent since 1984, according to a statistics website (

   “Some prefer more environmentally friendly transportation options, some found driving too stressful and some just don’t care about cars,” said a study of Generation Z by USA Today. No matter the reason, some teenagers are still choosing other methods of transportation over legalizing their driving ability (

   The car industry is trying new ways to get teenagers to buy cars, by working to add new technology features to their automobiles. “The automakers are addressing the issue with the obvious — a generation raised on technology likely will be most interested in cars with the newest features and connectivity,” said USA Today (

   “The most recent Federal Highway Administration data shows that just over a quarter (25.6 percent) of 16-year-olds became licensed drivers in 2018, and only 61 percent of teens had their licenses by age 18,” according to The Medium. The financial strain of having a car seems to push teenagers away from getting their licenses. The cost of having insurance, gas, and maintenance on the current minimum wage salary seems unreasonable when an alternative like public transportation is much cheaper (

   “Urban populations have also seen the explosion of app-based transportation services like Uber and Lyft that complement the mass transit systems they may already be using to get around,” said a reporter from The Medium. The freedom that was once associated with having a license is essentially gone with the upgrades of modern technology and convenience (

   Teenagers also have various worries and anxieties associated with driving. “Dr. Steven Seay, a Florida-based psychologist has seen a ‘tremendous number of young drivers who are debilitated by anxiety,’ though what they tell their parents may have nothing to do with their fears” (

  “It’s just the fact of being on the actual road that scares me,” said Junior Isa Delgadillo. Delgadillo expressed that with the convenience of getting a ride from someone else or Uber, there is no need to go through the stress of getting a license. She added, “I’m a very paranoid person and I can only imagine the anxiety driving would give me. The amount of close call merges and missed accidents is enough for me.” 

   “Freedom is the main reason I got my license,” said Junior Aaron Fuge. He added that the car is his personal space, despite all the worries of being on the road.