Young people are becoming less interested in learning to drive. True or false?
According to a transport study done by Dr. Alexa Delbosc of Monash University, it’s true. In her analysis of data gathered on licensing rates in Victoria, Australia, she found that the rates for people under 25 years of age have dropped from 77 percent to 66 percent since 2001. And it’s not just happening in Australia—interest in learning to drive has been dropping in Europe, the UK, Canada, and the United States as well.
Why is this so? Let’s take a closer look to find out exactly why young people are losing interest in learning to drive and getting a license.
The major factor influencing the desire to drive is the cost of driving. Learners would have to pay for lessons, the actual tests, license fees, and of course, the costs of buying, maintaining, and running a car. There’s also insurance to think about.
The changing lifestyle of young people is another factor. The parents of today’s young people had a completely different lifestyle in a completely different environment. Before—during their parents’ time as young adults—young people used to get full-time jobs straight out of high school, get married, get a mortgage, and start a family. Back then, the car was a symbol of independence, and learning to drive plus getting their own car was every teen’s dream.
Now, more young people are going to college, working part time, living at home, and putting off starting a family. With this kind of lifestyle, young people might not have the money to buy a car, or even the need for a car in the first place. A car is no longer a status symbol; rather, it has been replaced by the latest technology such as smartphones.
With the ease of public transportation in the world’s cities, young people are becoming less inclined to learn how to drive. Young adults have become adept at taking the train and the bus to school or work, while many others see the value of taking public transportation as a way of lessening their environmental impact. For these young people, it’s true that driving is an important skill to have, but is not necessary in their daily lives. What was once a necessary rite of passage has become an unnecessary chore, especially if the parents are the ones who are insisting that their children learn how to drive.
Going places with social media
Virtual media and social networking have enabled young people to stay in touch without having to leave their homes. This increased connectivity has made it easier for friends to catch up with each other, a stark contrast to when their parents had to drive from one town to another just
to “hang out”. Electronic communication is more convenient and practical than having to get in a car, fill it up with gas, and endure two-hour traffic jams in order to have some girl talk.
With the practicality of taking public transport, the convenience of social media, and the high costs of driving, it’s easy to understand why young people are becoming less interested in learning to drive.
Still, even if learning it is no longer a priority for many, driving is still a useful skill that anyone will be glad to have, especially in an emergency.
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