May 13, 2016


Why Don't Teenagers Drive Anymore? Factors Associated With Delayed Driver's License Acquisition Among High School Students


1:40 pm - 3:00 pm


1605 Tilia, Room 1103, West Village


In recent years driver’s license rates have declined among teenagers and young in many developing countries worldwide, with long-term implications for transportation planning. However, the reasons for this decline are only partially understood. Past research has focused on surveys of young drivers without licenses, but few studies have looked at the characteristics and attitudes of driving-age youth as a whole. Other studies have focused on young adults, but not teenagers. This study addresses these gaps by examining the results of a survey of students at three high schools in Northern California. These results indicate that demographic factors such as race/ethnicity and parental education level, used as a proxy for socioeconomic status, were correlated with licensing and the age at which a license is obtained. Smartphone use, frequency of participation in after-school activities, and bicycle ownership also corresponded positively with increased licensing rates, while actual bicycle use, enjoyment of riding the bus, and ability to rely on parents for transportation corresponded with decreased licensing rates. Use of electronic communications in general was not found to have a large correspondence with licensing rates, and environmental concern had no significant relationship. These results suggest the need for further research to separate economic factors from other possible factors influencing licensing among high school students.

Biographical Sketch

Rod Brown is a Transportation Planner/Engineer at Fehr & Peers Transportation Consultants in Roseville. His work has included policy implementation and process development for Caltrans and the US EPA; regional and active transportation planning for Northern California counties, cities, and councils of government; and transportation impact analyses for public and private clients. Rod holds an MS in Transportation Technology and Policy from the University of California, Davis.

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