US Study Shows the Autonomous Cars Can’t Come Quick Enough for the Young Generation

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You know, it’s stuff like this that has us believe things happen for a reason. We, non-millennials, bemoan the disappearing of driving cars and the proliferation of the driverless ones, while others don’t even bother to get their driver’s license.
These two things - people not being so interested in their ability to drive cars and the advent of autonomous cars - aren’t directly connected, but they somehow fit together perfectly. If there were any doubts left, your kids will cross streets where there will be more cars driving themselves than being driven.

Or maybe I’m skipping a generation here and it will only be your grandkids, as the first autonomous cars will still require somebody with a valid license to sit behind the wheel and be ready to take over at any minute - which kind of defeats the purpose, but that’s another thing.

This new study conducted by a team at The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and quoted by Autoguide tracked, from 1983 until 2014, the percentage of people who owned a driver’s license. They then separated their findings based on age groups, and the results speak by themselves.

The bottom line is that fewer and fewer people drive, and the trend keeps on growing. The most affected demographic are young people with ages between 16 and 44, while for people between 45 and 69 years old, the number has risen up until 2008, and then started to fall gradually (but it’s still higher than it was in 1983).

The biggest change happened at the youngest possible age - sweet sixteen. If 46.2 percent of American teenagers who turned 16 were allowed to drive a car back in 1983, that number dropped to 27.5 percent in 2011 and 24.5 percent in 2014. That’s the most drastic change and, frankly, the most revealing.

We probably need another study to find out exactly why this is happening, what it is about cars and driving that isn’t as appealing to youngsters as before, but judging by the direction the industry is headed to, things aren’t likely to change.
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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