Teens Can't Afford to Drive, Says New Study


  • Teen Driving Study Picture

    Teen Driving Study Picture

    No jobs, no cars, says a new report on teen driving. | October 24, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • It's not that teens don't want to drive, they simply can't afford to, a new study found.
  • High unemployment and the rising costs of driving are putting the brakes on teen driving, says the report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Highway Loss Data Institute.
  • The study reviewed insurance data on insured teenage drivers and found the drop in teen driving coincided with the recent economic slowdown.

ARLINGTON, Virginia — It's not that teens don't want to drive, they simply can't afford to, a new study has found.

High unemployment and the rising costs of driving are putting the brakes on teen driving, says the report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Highway Loss Data Institute. Experts earlier had blamed what appeared to be a lack of interest in teen driving on the proliferation of texting and cell phones, both of which enable young people to have virtual contact with others.

The study reviewed insurance data on insured teenage drivers and found the drop in teen driving coincided with the recent economic slowdown. States with higher teen unemployment rates had fewer insured young drivers.

"It looks like teens just can't afford to drive," said HLDI Vice President Matt Moore in a statement on Thursday. "Paying for their own cars, gas and insurance is hard if they can't find a job. At the same time, kids who count on mom and dad to help them also may be out of luck if their parents have been affected by the recession."

The number of insured teen drivers fell 12 percent between 2006 and 2012. At the same time, the nationwide unemployment rate for teens rose by 11 percentage points during the heart of the recession.

The study noted that population and changes in state licensing ages contributed "somewhat" to the decline in the teen driver ratio, but HLDI analysts estimated that 79 percent of it was connected with the increasing unemployment spread.

The 2013 Your Driving Costs study by auto insurer AAA says it costs an average of 78.3 cents per mile to drive 10,000 miles in a year.

The HLDI study authors say that there may be more teen drivers as the economy picks up. But that prediction came with a dire warning from Moore.

"As the economy picks up again, it's possible that more teenagers will get behind the wheel," he said. "Unfortunately, that may also mean a rise in teen crash fatalities, which have been trending downward."

Edmunds says: The fear that teens don't like cars and driving appears to be unfounded. It's all about money, according to this study.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Marketplace

up2drive

Get Pre-Approved for a Loan


Car.com

Credit Problems?
We can help you get Financing!

ADVERTISEMENT