Fewer teens getting driver’s licenses as more seniors retain them

Los Angeles Times:

In an era of expensive gasoline and a threadbare economy, fewer young people are getting driver’s licenses and more older people are holding on to them as long as possible.

The data reflect big behavioral, technological and economic shifts, said Michael Sivak, research professor at the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute.

“The availability of virtual contact through electronic means has reduced the need for actual contact among young people,” said Sivak, who holds a doctorate in psychology.

Parents worry that texting imperils driving skills, but Sivak’s research appears to indicate that teenagers think traffic congestion and high fuel costs are the real nightmares, taking up time and money that could otherwise be spent on electronic communication.

Sivak’s data run from the beginning of 1983 through 2008, when the global recession had been underway for a year. Home values were falling fast from a peak in 2006. And in the second half of 2008, mobile phone users were texting an average of 357 times a month while making just 204 voice calls a month, according to the Nielsen Mobile Report.

Read the whole story: Los Angeles Times

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