number of America’s youngest drivers just hit a record low, according to newly published data from the Federal Highway Administration. Roughly 8.5 million people ages 19 and younger had their licenses in 2014, and of those, just a little more than one million were 16 and younger—the lowest number since the 1960s.
Nationally, teen driving has been curving downwards for years, as automakers and transit advocates will inform you with respective consternation and glee. Why teens aren’t scrambling to the DMV as they did in decades past is a matter of debate. One explanation is the recession, which hit young people particularly hard. Without jobs (and with parents’ income stagnated), many teens have less disposable cash to fund a driving habit. There may also be an attitude shift the air: Kids today may not place as much value on automobiles as previous generations did, and may be more open to other forms of transportation (including their parents’ backseats, presumably).