AAA: teens waiting until 18 to get licenses

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) -- There's new research out indicating that many teenagers are waiting until they are 18 to get a driver's license.

Recent changes in law have placed restrictions on 16 and 17-year-old drivers, but as News 8 reports that does not appear to be the reason.

Two decades ago, more than two-thirds of all teenagers had their driver's license before they turned 18.

New AAA Foundation research shows that now, less than half of all teens are getting their license within 12 months of their 16th birthday.

"I'll be 18 in September and I waited because my mom really wasn't a big fan of me driving," said Nicole Garcia, of Newington.

"My parents wanted me to wait, they just didn't want me to get my license yet," said Shane Swanson, of West Hartford.

"There's, yeah, there's a couple, at least five I can think of," said Garcia.

"That have waited to 18," News 8's Mark Davis asked.

"Mm hmm," Garcia said.

According to the DMV, unlike teen applicants, those over 18 are not required to complete a 30-hour classroom driver's education course.
      
They don't have to provide any parental consent forms, nor are their parents required to complete the two-hour parent training.
      
If you're over 18 you're just required to complete an 8-hour safe driving practices course.

However, the trend appears to be caused by economics, and social media.

"Seems to be happening more for economic reasons; they don't have a car, they can connect with their friends virtually rather than face-to-face, never got around to it, and gas is expensive," said Stephen Rourke, AAA Driving School.

The 30-hour courses can run about $600, but despite that AAA says their enrollment is actually up.

They say the biggest potential draw back to this trend is that more and more young people are getting licensed without the benefit of parental supervision and professional in-car training.

Back in ancient times, when News 8's Mark Davis was a teenager, getting a license as soon as you could was a very high priority.

However, gas was cheap and there was no social media.

Copyright 2014 WTNH TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

 

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