Why Are Fewer Teens Driving These Days?

Here’s some news that will please many of you who cringe when you see a cocky teenager behind the wheel of an automobile. A new report claims that not only are fewer teens driving their own cars, but that fewer teens are on the road in general.

According to the study, the number of used cars being sold for use by teens has dropped from 7.5 million/year to 4.2 million. And before you think it might have something to do with fewer used cars being sold, researchers say that the overall percentage of used cars meant for teens has sunk from 17.4% in 2005 to 10.9%.

The economy seems to be the major factor, with teen unemployment now at double the rate it was in 2005.

Says the study:

Reflecting the jobs market, there has been a serious decline in the number of teens who make a full payment for their vehicle to parents — down from 21% to 16% while parents are paying the full price in 44% of the cases vs. 43.5%.

There is also the fact that not as many teens seem eager to get behind the wheel. For example, in Colorado, the number of licenses issued to minors dropped 9% between 2004-2008, even though teen population in the state grew by 14% during those same years.

Of interest to the people at GM and Ford — The teens who are getting used cars are buying American in greater numbers, primarily because they’re cheaper.

If you want to relive your youth for a moment, click here to read what Consumerist commenters were driving when they were pimply, awkward teens.

Deferred dream: Fewer teens getting their first car [USA Today]