If you’ve ever parented or even spent any time around a teenager, you know one thing – they know EVERYTHING!!
Funny enough, it turns out that they may actually be wiser about at least one thing than their old fogie parents – they’re waiting longer to start driving, thereby deferring the costs of owning a car, paying insurance, buying gas, and otherwise watching their (usually very limited) income dwindle away.
According to new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (www.aaafoundation.org) , fewer than half (44%) of teens choose to get their driver’s license within 12 months of the minimum age for licensing in their state, and just over half (54 %) are licensed before their 18th birthday.
This has raised concerns that those waiting until they are 18 or older purposely avoiding graduated licensing systems put into place by many states to give young and inexperienced drivers extra time behind the wheel with their parents and without the distractions of peers n the car with them. However, AAA found that in actuality, very few teens postpone licensure to get out of the requirements. Instead, respondents noted the following reasons for waiting:
- 44% didn’t have a car
- 39% could get around without driving
- 36% felt gas was too expensive
- 36% felt that driving was too expensive
- 35% “just didn’t get around to it.”
This may be the tipping point our greater society needs to stop being so car-dependent and look at other ways to travel. As the Confident Commuter has pointed out in previous posts, owning a car is very expensive indeed. It costs an average of $8,500 to own, maintain, and operate a car each year, whereas if someone purchased monthly passes for TransIT connector and shuttle buses for a year (the least expensive way to purchase trips), a year’s worth of transit would cost only $550.00. Even via the most expensive way, paying trip by trip, it would only cost $1,560, allowing for two round-trips on six days per week for an entire year.
This would mean a savings of at LEAST $6,640 a year which, if put into a retirement fund with typical yield, would mean that one could retire with $2MILLION at their disposal!
Maybe our teenagers do know it all after all.