Reporting Tim Williams
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Brand new research finds many teens are waiting longer to get their driver’s licenses. AAA Mid-Atlantic released that information, which shows the economy may play a major role.
Tim Williams has the story.
There was once a time that teenagers old enough and able to drive wanted to drive. That’s certainly the case for Mike Hopper Jr. from New Jersey.
“I’m gonna get it as soon as I could, when I turn 16,” he said.
It’s a decision supported by his dad.
“As soon as he’s able he can drive around. Maybe drive me around sometimes,” his dad said.
But that decision is the opposite of a new trend.
Recent research by the AAA Foundation shows more teens are waiting before hitting the roads.
“About 54 percent of teens nationwide are waiting until they’re 18 or older to get their driver’s licenses,” said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Researchers thought strict and graduated driving laws were to blame. In fact, the study cites economic factors.
“Most of them indicated that it was either too expensive or that they had other travel options or transportation options so there really wasn’t that rush to get their license,” Averella said.
The concern is that new drivers aren’t getting the benefit of graduated driving laws in place to help young drivers learn the rules of the road over a period of time.
“If you’re waiting until the age of 18, you no longer require parental supervision so the requirements to have that supervised parental driving with you and that hands-on experience isn’t there,” Averella said.
While the trend for teens may change, for parents, it remains the same.
“Hopefully he don’t hit nothing or nobody,” said Mike Hopper, Sr.