Teens waiting longer to get their drivers licenses

The Eagle Eye interviews Tyrone students about this new nationwide trend


The Drivers Licence centers will reopen when the county they are in moves to the “Yellow” phase for the COVID-19 guidelines.

A recent study has shown that 44% of current teenagers wait a year or more after turning sixteen to obtain their drivers licenses; a major change from past years.

According to an article from NBC News, in 2010 only 28% of 16 year olds had their drivers licenses, compared to about 46% of 16 year olds in 1983. And according to an article on CS Monitor, from 1980-2010 drivers licensed at 17 years of age dropped from 66% to 45%; 18-year-old drivers dropped from 75% to 61%; and 19-year-old drivers dropped from 80% to 70%.

So why are teenagers waiting to obtain their licenses?

One student from Tyrone, 17 year old Cami Friday, says “I didn’t think I was ready [to drive] because I didn’t have any confidence.”

“Only a couple of my friends have their licenses,” according to Junior Samantha Johnson, age 16.

Other reasons as to why teenagers are waiting to get their licenses are because schools are beginning to drop their driver’s education courses, resulting in parents dishing out $300-600 for private driving courses for their children. Not all families can afford the hefty price, nor do the families always have time to teach their own children to drive.

Teenagers are also saying that driving just isn’t as important as it used to be. They are satisfied with getting rides from their friends and family for where they need to go.

Another reason teens say they aren’t driving is because new laws are making it more difficult and more time consuming.

Johnson, who has her permit, says “I haven’t driven much and I don’t have my 65 hours. It will probably take me a while.” Johnson doesn’t plan on getting her license until after her 17th birthday.

Finally, teenagers don’t head out to hang at the mall or at the park with their friends anymore like they did in the previous generation. Nowadays, teenagers socialize via Xbox live, Facebook, text messaging, Twitter, and other social networking sources and they don’t have a need to drive anywhere.

Devon Foutz, from Harrisburg, PA, age 17, was one of the few who said he wanted his driver’s license right at 16. “It was important to me because it’s hard to hold a steady job when you can’t take yourself there. You need your own transportation to start making a good living early.”

Junior Arianna Scheidell, age 16, says “Well, it’s their choice [to wait for their licenses], but as a person looking to get their license as soon as possible, it seems counterproductive.”

Mr. Cummins McNitt, Tyrone’s drivers education teacher and behind-the-wheel instructor, said “It’s fine [to wait], but they shouldn’t wait much longer than that…because unless you’re willing to spend the rest of your life in a major metropolitan area, you’re going to need to know how to drive whether for a job or personal reasons.”

“In a way I think it’s good [that teenagers are waiting] because the more mature you are when you start driving, the better. But it’s much different than when I was a teenager. Everybody that I knew got their licenses pretty much as soon as they could. [But] I grew up in a small town and my parents didn’t have the time to drive me to work or to my friend’s house and my different activities. It really helped my family when I got my driver’s license because my parents didn’t have to do as much,” said civics teacher Mr. Todd Cammarata.