Maggie: Driving can mean independence and freedom, but it can also mean gas money and the hassle of trying to get a license. Keith Kocinski talks with future drivers to find out if the thrill of having their own car is still worth it.
Keith: For generations, getting a driver’s license has been a right of passage.
Pablo Bejarano: I would like to drive as soon as possible.
Jeremy Joseph: Everyone I know, it seems like they want to drive really bad.
Keith: And with every driver’s license came the need for a car – your own car.
When cars were first invented, most people – especially teens – couldn’t afford to buy their own. But then assembly lines made automobiles more affordable, even for a lucky teenager. And since then, teens everywhere could hardly wait for their sweet sixteen so they could hop in the driver’s seat of their own car. But that attitude may be changing.
Maria Dundas: I get driven to school everyday by my friend who lives in my town. She will drive me anywhere if I ask her. My parents will basically drive me anywhere if I ask them to.
Keith: Even though Maria Dundas is already 17 years old, she doesn’t have a driver’s license yet; she is waiting to drive. And driving experts say she is not the only one.
Robert Sinclair: Many surveys, including the one by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, have shown that teens just aren’t as interested in getting their driver’s license and driving a car.
Keith: Those statistics show that twenty years ago, two-thirds of all teens had a driver license before they were 18. Now, just over half of teens have their license before 18. The question is why are teens waiting now?
Jeremy: Some kids might not get the driver’s ed class provided for them or their parents just might not think they’re responsible yet.
Pablo: I’m just lazy, that’s it. I haven’t gotten it. I want to get it but I haven’t.
Keith: There are a host of possible reasons but experts say, once again, money plays a big role as to why teens are choosing to delay driving; it is expensive. On average, the cost of a new car is about $28,000, and that is just the vehicle.
Michelle: Gas prices are ridiculous. And car insurance prices – just because we’re young kids – car insurance is crazy high and cars too. I mean, if you want to buy a car yourself, even if it’s used, it’s a lot of money.
Keith: Maria says that for her, driving is just lower on her list of priorities that require her time and money.
Maria: Basically right now, school, soccer and getting into college. Like, driving is important but it’s not up there with all that stuff.
Keith: Like Maria, some teens would rather spend their precious dollars on other things before buying that car. Sure, teens are still driving, and it means a lot to some, but when it comes down to it, some are trading in these for this.
Christopher Lepore: Because I keep in contact with my friends with a phone and I can’t really keep in contact with a car.
Michelle: I know people that will save up for their phones, save up to get an iPhone, and yet they don’t even think about getting money for a car.
Keith: Some believe that one benefit to waiting to drive until you are older means you will be a more mature driver. But driving experts say experience is experience, no matter at what age.
Sinclair: They’re still a young driver and they’re still a novice driver and they’re still a driver without the practice that was mandated under graduated driver’s licensing provisions. And from a safety standpoint, we do worry about that.
Keith: They also say even if you wait until you are 18 to drive, it is still in your best interest to invest in a driver’s education course before you get your license.
As for Maria…well, she probably won’t wait quite that long.
Maria: If I don’t have the time then I guess I’ll just wait until I am 18 and get it then. But I’m definitely going to try and get my license before I’m 18.
Keith: Keith Kocinski, Channel One News.
Maggie: If you are thinking about getting behind the wheel soon, you have got to check out our Traffic page over at Channelone.com.