Fewer teenagers now get their driver's licenses at age 16 – just 31% in 2008 compared with 46% in 1983.
A University of Michigan report cites several reasons: the cost to own or maintain a vehicle, including gas and insurance; the October 2008 economic downturn, which worsened those costs; and youths’ increasing awareness of their environmental footprint.
Graduated license laws also are impacting new teen drivers, requiring more training and limiting the circumstances in which they can drive. Washington implemented its graduated license law in 2001, Oregon in 2000.
Perhaps the most interesting factor, one official said, is how a license enables connectivity with other teens. Nowadays, teens delay getting their licenses in part because social media and smart phones enable that connectivity. Read the Ventura County Star article for more details.