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U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why 635

Paul Fernhout writes "U.S. teenagers just aren't as into driving as they used to be, U.S. government forecasters acknowledged in dramatically altered projections for transportation energy use over the next 25 years." Online presence is one of the reasons mentioned, which makes a lot of sense to me as a factor, no matter the age of the drivers involved. Whatever your age, do you drive less than you did 10 years ago?
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U.S. Teenagers Are Driving Much Less: 4 Theories About Why

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  • Porn ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:36PM (#46005475)

    Before, teens needed to have a car to impress the girls ...

    Now, they just need an internet connection and some hand-cream.

    • Re:Porn ... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by K. S. Kyosuke ( 729550 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @03:47PM (#46007023)

      Before, teens needed to have a car to impress the girls ...

      ...and today, it's difficult to impress a girl with a car with a car. ;-)

  • Murica Fuck yea! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:37PM (#46005481)
    Celebrating how America is more energy efficient because its people can no longer afford to drive.
    • Catching up to Europe I suppose.

      • by Ubi_NL ( 313657 ) <joris.ideeel@nl> on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:12PM (#46005813) Journal

        Then there's a long way to go. Petrol in Europe is still 6 times more expensive. No, really. 6 times.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by MightyYar ( 622222 )

          Like all other things, I'm sure you are paying for a superior product... ~

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            No, the Europeans pay for both the benefits and the health/enviro costs of petroleum products. Americans just pay for the benefits and shrug off the real costs to their children and future generations. That's why some products are very expensive in Europe - they are priced at what they really cost.

            • Re:Murica Fuck yea! (Score:5, Interesting)

              by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:29PM (#46006471) Journal

              No, actually we Americans probably pay the most for gasoline, we just do it indirectly. A huge portion of our income taxes and inflationary debts go to fund the worlds largest military apparatus, which disproportionately expends its efforts in or near oil producing regions, theoretically at least ensuring a constant supply.

              Lefties don't understand why we can't have all the social programs of Europe, and Righties don't understand why we have to have personal income taxes that are so high, and corporate taxes that are event higher, in both cases its because we are paying to make cheap gasoline available.

              • by excelsior_gr ( 969383 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @05:32PM (#46007697)

                Wow, what a ton of bullshit.

                Not only is household taxation in the US less than in the EU (and don't even get me started about VAT) you get to sell your military produce to European countries as well! You do not pay the most for gasoline, either directly or indirectly. You don't have "all the social programs of Europe" because they don't fit in your mentality/way of living, and that's fine by me, but don't give us the crap that you can't afford them because you have to ensure cheap oil for the rest of the world!

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:32PM (#46006017)

          Then there's a long way to go. Petrol in Europe is still 6 times more expensive. No, really. 6 times.

          Yes, gas is much more expensive in Europe BUT :

          - most of our cities are tailored for people and not cars
          - we have very good public transportation that you americans can't even begin to comprehend
          - taking the car to the grocery store that's 100 meters from your place is just stupid.
          - so you only take the car when absolutely necessary.
          - Just imagine people living up to 100 km from Paris or London and commuting every day to the city on a train. No need to take the car. Saves you a freakton of money.
          - in the US because of your hyper developed suburbia without cars you die.

          • by plover ( 150551 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:53PM (#46006189) Homepage Journal

            There are a ton of historical reasons American cities are built the way they are. First, because almost all of your cities were built long before the existence of cars, American cities were created after the existence of cars. What you don't seen to understand is all the empty space we had 100 years ago. By comparison, the rest of the world is incredibly crowded and land is extremely expensive. Because American land was cheap, and cars were cheap, and gas was cheap, it was easy to live an extra mile away from the city and buy an acre or hectare to give yourself room. Honestly, if it was easily affordable, would you choose to continue to live cheek-to-cheek with your next door neighbor, sharing a wall with him and his noisy children and his smelly cooking, or would you like a garden of your own?

            As American cities grew, people found it very easy and affordable to move 10, 15, or 20 miles away from the city center, and do the same thing. (I know people now who commute 60 miles each way or more in order to live on 5 hectares of their own, or on a lakeshore.) Thus begat suburbs.

            Of course, living 20 miles from the city means you don't want to drive 15 miles to the grocery store, so people built grocery stores out near the houses. But they're still a mile or five away from most people.

            Because the suburban population density is so low compared to the rest of the world, infrastructure is much more expensive. Cities can't afford to run a bus down every suburban street, and the buses can't afford to go every market or shop. So bus stops are often a mile or more from many suburban residents, and they only take you to the main city, never to neighboring suburbs or even to local shops.

            We were built on cheap gas, and now we have to make some serious urban changes to fix it. And those are very expensive.

            • Re:Murica Fuck yea! (Score:5, Informative)

              by westlake ( 615356 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:48PM (#46006605)

              There are a ton of historical reasons American cities are built the way they are. First, because almost all of your cities were built long before the existence of cars, American cities were created after the existence of cars.

              Most American cities were built after the invention of the railroad. (ca 1825)

              The move to the suburbs was well established before the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. (1883) Streetcar suburb []

              Before Amazon,com, there was the Sears, Roebuck catalog. "The World's Largest Store." offering convenient and affordable rural and suburban home delivery.

              There are many, many forces which resist centralization in the states.

              • Re:Murica Fuck yea! (Score:5, Informative)

                by PrimaryConsult ( 1546585 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @04:47PM (#46007435)

                The worst part is, many towns build around railroads exorcised their train stations and rail lines. So places which once had a centrally located rail station now have a trail running through downtown, and (at best) a station 10 miles away from town with a parking lot the size of the town. Even worse, the "network effect" of a local bus system bringing people to downtown (which works great with downtown train stations) is lost because the train station is now at a "spoke" of the system, rather than the hub.

                And the above is the best case scenario. At worst, they didn't even bother putting in a replacement station, and the area became completely automobile-ized.

            • Re:Murica Fuck yea! (Score:5, Interesting)

              by dryeo ( 100693 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:54PM (#46006633)

              The automobile industry also had a lot to do with the current situation by buying up the public (which actually was private) transportation and shutting it down. As Westlake says, the cities were spreading out before the automobile, just in a more sane manner, eg following the tram lines and railroads.
              For better or worse, the market has a heavy influence on development and their aim is not to improve the average persons life, but to sell something.

            • Re:Murica Fuck yea! (Score:4, Interesting)

              by BeaverCleaver ( 673164 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @08:35PM (#46008937)

              All good points, and valid. However there were also some VERY shady deals to deliberately dismantle public transport on the USA, often misusing anti-monopoly legislation to gut the streetcar (tram) networks.

              This is especially evident in LA, where the freeways have taken over the same routes that the old streetcars used to.

              Yes, the example above is familiar - it was used [with some historical accuracy, ironically] in the movie "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" []

              More on the "streetcar scandal" at []

          • Re: Murica Fuck yea! (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @03:53PM (#46007063)

            Very true. I'm Australian and moved to America last year, so I have some personal experience of this.

            In Australia I lived around 500 metres from the closest grocery store and we often walked there and filled a couple of large hessian bags with groceries and walked back. The groceries would last several days. The walk itself took 15 minutes out of your day and was a pleasant stroll through low density suburbia - on the sidewalk at first, then on a bike path behind the local high school, past a park and over a pedestrian bridge to the local shopping area.

            I now live in America in a similar suburban area (large homes on separate blocks etc.) and the closest supermarket is, by luck, even closer. Maybe 150 metres or so - can literally see the roof of it out the window. However, despite the area being very similar in terms of density and layout, walking there is significantly more difficult. Firstly, while my street has a sidewalk, some don't. From where I am, I have to walk down this unsaved embankment next to a road and look very awkward in doing so. Not to mention its covered with knee deep snow this time of year. Secondly I then have to cross a four lane road and there is no tunnel, bridge or signalled pedestrian crossing like you'd find in Australia - even right across from the shopping area (which is reasonably sized with a supermarket, pharmacy, hairdresser, restaurants ... at least 15 businesses located together, so you'd think there'd be quite a few people trying to get there?)

            So while you can walk there, it's much less convenient/pleasant. I have been guilty of the drive 100 metres to the store thing myself, even though I would never have done so back home, despite living in a very similar suburban area (Australia is just as suburbanised as the US, not like Europe at all, and yet has much better pedestrian access to things than here).

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

            we have very good public transportation that you americans can't even begin to comprehend

            Not in the UK, our public transport is shit. So are our roads. Our petrol is pretty expensive too. Bugger.

    • by beltsbear ( 2489652 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:46PM (#46005583)

      True! The cost of driving has risen. Mandatory insurance plus the price of gas and harder to repair old cars all contribute. I am not saying a teen cannot learn to fix cars, but more tools are needed then ever. I could have changed most wearing parts of my Delta-88 (teenage car) with tools my dad had lying around.

      • that and cash for clunkers which destroyed a large amount of cars that teens could afford
      • They also have been steadily raising the age where a teen can get a full license. When I was licensed, you could get a learner's permit at 15.5 (I think), and you could take the test for the full, unrestricted license any time after your 16th birthday.

        Just a couple years later, the age had already started drifting up, with new drives in my state able to obtain only a restricted license until 17 (now 18, I think, and you need to be older to get the restricted license, too), on the grounds that inexperienced

      • Today's cars are much, much more reliable than the cars I grew up with. Modern cars don't need yearly tuneups. There are no points to adjust. No crappy, complicated, and finicky carburetors to rebuild, today's spark plugs last for 100,000 or more km, etc...

        So that isn't an issue.

        We have always had mandatory insurance up here so that isn't an issue.

        But none of my three kids drive, only one even bothered to get a learners license while I was at the drivers license office 5 minutes after I turned 16. Lo

    • America is more energy efficient because its people can no longer afford to drive.

      Absolutely. Plus, those working-class families can't afford to give their teenager the old car because they have to keep it running another five years because wages have eroded.

      When I was 17, my dad gave me the old Chevy Caprice because it was paid off and my dad wanted a new car. The normal car loan was 3 years and a machinist in a single-earner household could afford to buy a new car every 4 years. So I was driving a V8 b

  • by JDeane ( 1402533 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:37PM (#46005487) Journal

    Yes I drive a lot less than I used to 10 years ago, but it less to do with the Internet and more to do with the price of gas.... []

    • by oic0 ( 1864384 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:49PM (#46005603)
      More than just the price of gas, I also costs a lot more to do whatever you are going to do when you get where you are going! 10 years ago an outing might have cost me ~30 bucks gas included. 5 in gas, 15 for food, 10 for movie tickets. Now it costs ~60 with 8 for gas, 30 for food, 20 for movie tickets. I am however NOT making twice as much as I was 10 years ago.
    • I don't buy this argument, because the same is being seen in europe, where the price of gas is (and was) 4 times higher.

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Here is another data point. In the mid 80's was when the drinking age was raised to 21. Prior to that there was an incentive to get a driver license as that is what got you into bars on your 18th birthday. For the 16-19 crowd there is really no reason to have one unless you want to smoke. But cost of gas is one problem. Another is that the US now has about 80% of our population living in an urban area of 2500 or more people, and the top 50 or so urban areas make up over half of the US population. Whil
    • by Teckla ( 630646 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:30PM (#46006003)

      Yes I drive a lot less than I used to 10 years ago, but it less to do with the Internet and more to do with the price of gas....

      I'm not sure why your comment and link to an ancient article on gas prices (2004?!) got modded insightful, but when you factor in inflation, gas prices aren't particularly high. They're at a pretty normal level compared to historical prices (again, inflation adjusted).

      That being said, the inflation adjusted income of the middle class has been going down for decades. That's more likely to be your culprit.

      • Yes I drive a lot less than I used to 10 years ago, but it less to do with the Internet and more to do with the price of gas....

        I'm not sure why your comment and link to an ancient article on gas prices (2004?!) got modded insightful, but when you factor in inflation, gas prices aren't particularly high. They're at a pretty normal level compared to historical prices (again, inflation adjusted).

        That being said, the inflation adjusted income of the middle class has been going down for decades. That's more likely to be your culprit.

        Try, the income of middle class has not been keeping up with inflation, let alone the real price of goods and services the last 10 years.

      • by JDeane ( 1402533 )

        Yes I drive a lot less than I used to 10 years ago, but it less to do with the Internet and more to do with the price of gas....

        I'm not sure why your comment and link to an ancient article on gas prices (2004?!) got modded insightful, but when you factor in inflation, gas prices aren't particularly high. They're at a pretty normal level compared to historical prices (again, inflation adjusted).

        That being said, the inflation adjusted income of the middle class has been going down for decades. That's more likely to be your culprit.

        Well the article we are posting in (I can hardly believe I have to explain this...) is about how teenagers are driving less now than they where 10 years ago...

        I linked to an article talking about the gas prices in 2004...10 years ago.

        Gas prices have doubled, wages have not, Pretty simple?

  • by HornWumpus ( 783565 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:38PM (#46005497)

    Don't got a job because I don't have a car.

    Don't have a car cause I don't have a job.

    Don't have a girl cause I don't have a car.

    So I'm looking for a girl with a job and a car.

  • Look before I go (Score:4, Interesting)

    by eclectro ( 227083 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:41PM (#46005539)

    I check a store's inventory and maybe make a call before I drive off. Olden days I would need to travel around to different stores to find a special item. More often than not I also mail order supplies I would have bought locally. Sorry Radio Shack. Well, not really.

  • by TheGavster ( 774657 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:43PM (#46005553) Homepage

    At least in CT, the age at which you can practically operate a vehicle on your own keeps creeping up, and there are always new rules restricting the privilege (only during the day, no passengers, etc). Assuming that the rest of the nation passes similar policies (given that we never repeal such things it has to be a purely additive effect anyway), I would think it obvious that teens drive less on average, as teens can't drive as much.

    • by JJJJust ( 908929 ) <JJJJust AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:30PM (#46005991)

      This. In Michigan, I waited until I was 18 just to avoid dealing with graduated driver licensing laws. The bureaucracy alone they create is a PITA.

      During my time working at the DMV, kids would often bring their fathers in to sign for approving their next level license. At least twice a day I was sending home angry kids because daddy dearest wasn't on the birth certificate.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yeah, the strategy to solve "teen road deaths" is keeping them off the roads entirely. Similar to how unemployment is now solved by getting people to drop out of the workforce, houses losing value is solved by printing money, etc.
  • by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:44PM (#46005567)

    I drive significantly less than I did 10 years ago. I moved into the city, and am now able to take public transit to work, which was, previously, the lion's share of my driving.

    As for the why... the price of fuel is a pretty big factor. Between that, and the fact that I'm now living in an area where public transit is a viable option, I don't really see the point in driving the car for anything other than shopping trips, and I can do most of those on the weekend. The very few things I may need during the week can be had at the grocery store, deli, or drug store across the street from my apartment building.

    I still own a car, and I can't see myself ever giving it up, but I don't *need* to drive everywhere like I did when I lived in the country.

  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:50PM (#46005607) Journal

    When I was a teenager in the late 70s, there was nothing to do except jump in the car and drive down Main Street and yell out the window to friends loitering in front of the bars, get to the end, come back and do it again, over and over. ("Cruising") or just go on a lot of joyrides.

    If I had an xbox or ps4 back then, I'd have probably been on that instead.

    • Imagine Dazed and Confused set today. Definitely wouldn't be a top 10 movie like the original. Compare those memories, or forgotten memories if you were too drunk, with those of today which would be getting achievment XYZ on a game. Really kind of sad in my opinion.
  • by Lije Baley ( 88936 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:52PM (#46005621)

    If my son is any gauge, the reason they don't drive is because it would require them to leave the house. Whenever we go anywhere, he is always concerned with how far he will be from his computer. The iPad and 3DS will only hold off the DTs for so long...

    • by The Optimizer ( 14168 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:36PM (#46006051)

      When I was a teen, one of the main functions of driving (and borrowing my parent's car) was to go be with my friends, hanging out or whatever. Otherwise I was stuck at home by myself.

      My own kids are constantly texting, emailing, playing online with, or using other means to interact with their friends without physical proximity. They can do it from anywhere they have wireless connectivity, even when traveling out of town.

      Again, back when I was a teen, we had a single land line telephone. If it wasn't in use, It was possible to call and just talk to one of my friends at a time, provided they were home, their line wasn't busy, and they were willing to be tethered by a cord to the phone's location in the house.

  • by netsavior ( 627338 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:53PM (#46005639)
    Amazon is like public transportation for "incidentals" In my household and those of my peers, there is no more "run to the store for these few items," it has been replaced with "is it prime?"
  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @12:54PM (#46005651) Journal
    Young, inexperienced drivers (particularly the males) are the worst actuarial risk for a reason.

    DWY is only slightly better than DWI, because it's not a choice.

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:00PM (#46005709) Journal
    The answer is pretty obvious: Gasoline prices have skyrocketed. Not a teenager anymore by far, I don't ever buy more than 5 gallons at a time, unless I know I'm going somewhere far enough away that I know I'll need more. I'll ride my motorcycle as much as I can because it's less expensive to operate overall, but for the most part I'll stay at home as much as I can.

    Additionally, there didn't used to be such an abbreviation as "NEET", but now I hear it all the time. More kids are staying home longer (even into their late twenties, much to the dismay of their parents) or even coming back home (much more to the dismay of their parents) because they're just not making it out in the world. Unless supplied with a vehicle and money for fuel by their cash-strapped parents, they're not driving anywhere.

    It seems to me that the Age of the Automobile, as a lifestyle, is coming to an end. Gasoline is never going to be under a dollar a gallon ever again. Will it be resurrected as the Age of the Electric Automobile (or some other alternative fuel source? Mr. Fusion, anyone?) or will we all be riding bicycles or using public transportation or some other non-personal transportation option? Are we all destined to become herd animals? Sad.
  • by Dzimas ( 547818 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:06PM (#46005767)
    In 1970, gasoline cost 35Â/gallon($1.65 in 2011 dollars). The OPEC crisis caused prices to more than double by 1980, but accelerated inflation meant that the cost rose to $2.03 in 2011 dollars. By 1990, gasoline hit $1 ($1.57 in 2011 dollars). Fast forward to today, and the average US price is $3.27. In other words, after adjusting for inflation gasoline is roughly twice as expensive as it has been historically. When you factor in the increased cost of high-tech cars and a sluggish economy, it's not surprising to see reduced demand.
  • by Ly4 ( 2353328 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:08PM (#46005781)

    Another factor - most driving is no longer 'fun' - It's fighting traffic. it's a job.

    The only place you don't see traffic these days is car commercials.

  • by a4r6 ( 978521 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:12PM (#46005815)
    The whole shift in thinking about burning fuel and the problems that it leads to, however small my contribution, has certainly impacted my lifestyle.

    My decision to live in a place where I can depend on public transportation was influenced by that knowledge.

    The lack of attachment to a physical place, knowing that I can continue to nurture my friendships from a distance, through the internet, also played a big part.
  • by russotto ( 537200 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:14PM (#46005835) Journal

    ...parent. Cars are for independence, the world of helicopter parenting doesn't allow for that.

  • by multimediavt ( 965608 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:14PM (#46005841)

    Now, this is over 15 years, not 10.

    Sure, let's get that out of the way. I don't have to go out as much to buy things, so I'd say that lowered my annual driving average by about 5%-10%

    Gasoline/Petrol prices
    Absolutely. When the price of gasoline went over $2.50/gal (that was 2005-ish) my leisure driving went to almost none. That was easily 25%-30% of my annual driving.

    More environmentally conscious
    Over the last 15 years I have definitely become more environmentally conscious and tried to drive less as well as use less electricity, etc.

    Moved closer to work
    I live in a medium-sized rural university town (about 50,000 without students, about 80,000 with them). I work for the university and moved to my present location in 1999. Before that I was living about three miles away and would drive to work daily. Now, I have a 15 minute walk apartment door to office door (my office, not the outer door). That cut my driving down by more than a third.

    So my driving habits over the last 15 years have dropped by roughly 65%-75%. I only drive when I need to run errands or I am going to visit friends farther than I can comfortably walk. I might spend $120-$130 on gas in a "busy" month (about 1,000 miles worth), but on average I spend about $60-$65 (about 500 miles worth). I used to average between 2,000 - 3,000 miles per month when gas was under $2.50/gal. I did a lot more road trips for fun and drove back and forth to work (often multiple times a day), as well as shopping trips and other errands. People around where I live have also gotten worse driving habits over that time, so that's another reason I stay off the roads. Where I live half the population of drivers has less than eight years of driving experience, and it seems they never really learned the rules of the road, anyway. Hell, it's bad enough as a pedestrian!

  • by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:16PM (#46005857)

    When I was just out of highschool we'd drive around looking for a party. Spent half the night doing that... stopping by this house or that house... We couldn't call from the car as there were no cellphones and even if we did land line phones were often not picked up at a loud party. With modern texting/tweeting etc, teens know where the party's immediately. If it changes venue they know right away. It's just one more activity computers have made more efficient.

  • by fullmetal55 ( 698310 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:24PM (#46005933)

    My commute is now a 15 minute jaunt on the highway to work, this is not by design, nor is it because I moved closer. (In fact 8 years ago I moved farther away from my current place of employment) back then I had a 30 minute commute, and I suppose if I was still living in that one bedroom apartment (with two kids would be hell) I'd have a 10 minute commute as opposed to the 15...

    I drive mostly to and from work, other times, not so much.

    Gas prices actually around here gas prices have gone up slightly in the past 10 years, but really, when a look on the historical gas price list. in 2004 gas was roughly 70c/l it was 2005 when gas first peaked 100c/l, this morning it was a comfortable 99.7c/l on my drive in to work. So gas prices are slightly higher, but not as bad as they were 5 years ago, and my salary in the same time has more than doubled. It's settled down. hasn't hit 130 in a long time.

    Shopping has become less of a hassle as well. It used to be that when I wanted to buy a new motherboard, it took driving around to about 3-4 different stores to get pricing because not every store had an up to date website. that's greatly improved in the past 10 years, same with shopping for furniture, TVs, etc. What used to be a 10 stop shopping trip is usually down to 1-2 now.

    10 years ago I was also single, online dating wasn't really all that big yet, so if I wanted to meet someone I had to go out and cruise around. heck back when I was a teenager that was the primary way to meet girls. Now a lot of people meet people online. heck I met my wife of 8 years online. Also I no longer have to drive as much to go on dates with my wife, as we live together. so that's another.

    Also entertainment. it used to be more entertaining to go to the mall, the theatre, whatever the kids of the area did to hang out and usually ended up driving there. now, it's more why drive to hang out, we can hangout online and chat online. so no need for physical contact anymore. (which is another study's results that there isn't enough person-person contact with teenagers anymore.

    frankly. There has been a lot of societal changes in the last 10 years, and a lot of that results in less driving. plus the whole recession that hit in 2008, kinda put a damper on being able to afford a car in your teenage years.

  • The fun is gone (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sdinfoserv ( 1793266 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @01:46PM (#46006135) Homepage
    When I was in high school, society looked at drinking and driving very differently than today. The drinking age was 18. We would often drive around with several friends drinking. Be it driving or parked somewhere, just sitting, talking , whatever. When the cops would come, if you weren’t a complete mess, all they would do is take your beer and tell you to go home. Additionally, many activities for teens centered around driving. We would go ‘cruising’. A local area where teens would all drive an congregate. Many cities have outlawed it. In addition to social and legal change in drinking attitudes, there are now automated speeding tickets, the cost of insurance, being harassed by law enforcement if just a few teens hangout somewhere. The change is more than the automobile. It’s a social political change that generally looks at young people congregating in public with negativity.
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:06PM (#46006279) Homepage Journal

    Gas is expensive
    Insurance is expensive
    Jobs are hard to come by, especially for teens
    They grew up socializing on-line so r/l meets are not as important now
    Did i mention jobs are hard to come by?

  • Driver Education (Score:4, Interesting)

    by drooling-dog ( 189103 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:07PM (#46006295)

    Driver education was a standard part of the (summer) high school curriculum when I was coming up so very long ago. I don't think that's the case anymore, and and as a result it's not as accessible as it once was. It's much less a thing you do automatically when you hit 16.

    That, and kids are living more of their lives virtually now. More "tactile" skills like driving and fixing mechanical things aren't as cool as the ones involved in manipulating what you see on your screen.

  • by mordred99 ( 895063 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @02:40PM (#46006543)

    I have a teenager and I can answer these questions from his perspective vs. when I was in high school 20 years ago.

    1) Home entertainment is so much better. He can play his x-box, talk to friends on live, play on the internet. All of this is in lieu of personal contact or face-to-face conversation. When I was a kid, if I wanted to play with someone, I had to do it at their house. The only way to get there was driving or riding a bike.

    2) Cell phones allow for faster communication. Relationships which were either face to face or on the phone when I was a kid. Now you can have face to face, Skype, video chat, etc. on your cell phone along with texting and other forms of media on your hand held which makes it much easier for them to maintain a relationship with much less effort.

    3) Effort. When I wanted to do something, I had to leave the house or host people at my place. This was effort and sometimes was taxing. Most kids now days see the effort in hosting people at your house or going to someone else's house as a waste due to the reasons #1 and #2 being the way to get your human interaction.

    4) Legal issues. Shit I used to do when I was a kid is now illegal. I am not talking drugs or anything like that, I mean like meeting up with friends at a jr. high and playing some ball, or 100 other things I used to do. We live in an extremely litigious society and as such things that were simple when I was a kid, you cannot do anything and kids are trained from a young age to rely on mommy and daddy to do things for them as they are the only ones who can take a risk.

    5) Cost. While this is somewhat true, I don't think it is that much different than when I was a kid. While gas costs 3 times more, they also make double the amount of money at work due to minimum wage increases. Insurance is the same (dollar for dollar) as when I was driving and when my son is driving. Cars cost the same (a good $3k car is still there for people to get for kids). It all depends on the quantity of money and how much you make your kid responsible for their costs.

    At the end of the day, there are many other things, but I remark #1 and #2 as the biggest differences between generations. If I didn't see a friend, I didn't talk to them. Now there is a dozen way to talk to a friend, and never leave the couch. Thus driving was the only way for me to see them.

  • by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @03:54PM (#46007077)
    With all the outsourcing and all our manufacturing jobs (that aren't done by robots) pretty much gone I see more and more adults in Fast Food. That means less of these jobs for teenagers. Plus American Kids get a _lot_ more homework now. They have to keep up with the standardized testing, and companies don't like training workers so they demanded the schools do _something_ so they don't have to, and the schools responded with a tonne of homework.

    It boils down to an eroding middle class due to massive wealth inequality, but we're not allowed to talk about that (the same folks who benefit the most also own the media outlets). It's fun to watch these pundits that aren't allowed to talk about what's really happening (or who've got the blinders on too tightly to see) try to come with reasons for it.
  • by Shados ( 741919 ) on Sunday January 19, 2014 @11:28PM (#46009943)

    I just never bothered (I'm in my early 30s). I lived in suburbs near big cities, or in big cities proper all my life across a handful of countries, and there was rarely anywhere I needed to go that I couldn't reach via public transportation of some sort, with the very occasional (2-3 times a year) place I'd just take a cab to.

    There's a few annoyances (when moving I hire movers, but if I'm packing myself, carrying all the empty boxes and packing material from wherever I get it is a pain), but all around its just a whole lot less worry.

    Didn't save me any money though, considering how brutally expensive a houses near main subway lines are though. So its really just because I prefer this lifestyle.

"In matrimony, to hesitate is sometimes to be saved." -- Butler