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  1. twalker on September 17, 2013 at 6:16 am

    I wonder if $$ were not an issue to obtain your license and insurance wasn’t though the roof how many more would say yes,driving is for me…

    • Tim Elmore on September 18, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      I can see how that would be a very realistic concern on the adults’ behalf. In my experience I have not seen many kids overly preoccupied with this issue, but they very well could be. My hope is to encourage kids to want that independence and responsibility, it is an essential part of growing up.

  2. Milly on September 17, 2013 at 6:42 am

    I couldn’t agree more with your comments Tim.

    In Australia kids have to log 120 hours of supervised driving before going for their license. It takes a lot of effort from both the learner driver and the parent (supervising driver). Kids are so busy with – completing their final year of high school, internet & social media activities and parties, they barely have time to learn to drive. They are so used to being chauffeured around, it’s a low priority to become independent in that respect.
    On the other hand with the number of road accidents, crazy drivers and prevalent drug & alcohol use, many parents are quite happy to keep their kids wrapped in cotton wool and not driving themselves.
    $$ is also a big factor, as mentioned by twalker. But many kids with access to $$ prefer to spend it on huge mobile plans, electronic devices, spray tans, designer gear, and drugs& alcohol.

    BTW, I’m loving your informative blog updates!

    • Tim Elmore on September 18, 2013 at 7:53 am

      Great points Milly. Your comment about kids used to being chauffeured around reminds me how much more important it is to help kids transition into this new found independence smoothly. I know for me, I would much prefer my kids to be living under my roof while they navigate this independence versus after high school when they are accumulating many responsibilities all at once. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. charlene.fonseca on September 17, 2013 at 7:28 am

    Honesty here? If I put my mind to it, this is discouraging, but if I understand that this is where it has come, it just “is” and we will have to deal with it.

    • Tim Elmore on September 18, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      You’re right, it is a bit discouraging and different from other generations. However, I believe we, as adults can help cultivate this sense of responsibility and independence in our kids.

  4. Melissa on September 17, 2013 at 8:41 am

    We live in New York City and DO have other ways to get around that are completely independent of parents. We have a great transit system and with weekly, monthly or free passes for students, the cost is capped at $112 dollars per month. Plus my son and his friends took to riding their bicycles for transportation and entertainment. As more families choose to stay and bring their kids up in metropolitan and urban settings, it reflects a demographic trend. That said, my 18 year old son is not in hurry to drive. Learning to drive in NYC is very difficult and drivers need to be over 18 to drive legally in NYC. Frankly, we are not unhappy about this, and although we want him to get his license, we don’t mind letting him mature a little bit more before driving.

    • Tim Elmore on September 18, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      I completely understand where you’re coming from, Melissa. I do not necessarily believe it is all about driving and getting a license. I do believe it is about taking initiative, and gaining responsibility. I think it great that the kids you lead have taken the initiative to express independence through different outlets like the train. I know I wouldn’t want to drive in NY! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. Nate Desmond on September 17, 2013 at 9:28 am

    While I can see the potential validity of your point, I would contend that the hypothesis doesn’t hold true across the board.

    I didn’t get my license until last year, just after turning 20. By that point, I had already held a full-time job for two years, finished three years of college, and lived on my own for two years in a rural town 5 hours away from my family. I also regularly rode my bicycle more than 2,000 miles each year.

    I didn’t want a car because it was an extra expense that I didn’t need.

    • Tim Elmore on September 18, 2013 at 2:20 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story Nate. I would say that you have definitely grasped the point of this article, which is autonomy, opportunity, and responsibility. While I believe that getting a driver’s license is a big step toward growing up, I believe you’ve demonstrated that in more ways than one by having a full-time job, living away from home, and providing your own form of transportation. Thanks for being an example of what we’re trying to cultivate in today’s students!

  6. Richard on September 17, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    I have a son that is nearing the age to get his license, and we cannot afford the classes. It will cost almost $600 because it is not offered through the schools. There is also the amount of training driving necessary with a parent. If he waits until he is 18 , he can walk in, take the written and driving tests and be done. That cost is about $25. And he is the first of four children.

    • Stephanie Thompson Robinson on September 17, 2013 at 9:03 pm

      My two girls are 16 and 17 and both got their licenses as soon as they were old enough (my youngest was delayed about a month because we were out of the country when she was eligible to get her permit). They attend a small Christian school that also does not offer driver’s ed. They both took an online course – it was self-paced, they could work on it when they had time and it only costs about $100. As for the parent-taught behind-the-wheel training, I did have to put in the time to do that, but I would much rather spend some time in the car with them myself teaching them how to drive properly, than to assume that at 18 they’ll just know what to do.

  7. Dan Miller on September 17, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Under Planning, I wonder if they lack the desire to drive because they don’t want to drive their parents car or minivan. Driving a minivan is not “cool” to them and status / popularity is everything… They’ve grown up with deserving the “nicest” of things available to them. Just a question….

    • Tim Elmore on September 18, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Great thoughts Dan! I also am curious about what that research would look like. I will keep my eyes peeled.

      • Dan Miller on September 18, 2013 at 2:28 pm

        Thanks Tim for all your research and leadership. I’ve got a Freshman in college, a Sr. in High School, and a Soph. in High school so I’m living the dream. Your books and blogs have been very helpful.

  8. Melanee on September 17, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I truly love hearing all of these meaningful exceptions in the comments section as to why teens aren’t getting their licenses right away, including public transportation and choosing to bicycle to work and school and so forth. These teens are clearly making proactive and healthy choices in their lives, and that’s wonderful. I also think that Tim is noticing a trend of complacency, and even perhaps learned helplessness in some adolescent circles as it relates to driving.

    I live in the suburbs in Washington State, and while I would adore public transportation, and while my husband does kayak to work on the river and bicycle through non-sidewalked backroads to work, my almost 16-year-old daughter will be required to drive most places. And many of her peers between the ages of 16-20 are doing what Tim says. They are not getting their licenses because they are scared to drive, and because they just don’t want to nor need to because their parents and friends drive them around and pay for their expenses which leaves them little motivation to get a job.

    Recently, my soon-to-drive daughter sent me an email and told me she felt nervous to get her license, and wasn’t sure she wanted to get it by her birthday. I told her that the reason she was nervous was because she simply hadn’t had enough practice behind the wheel, which we could continue to accommodate.

    As for me, I’m counting down the days until my daughter can drive herself to lessons and so forth. It’s a rite of passage, and it’s a huge life tool in teaching young adults responsibility. Thank-you for the article, Tim! And happy and safe traveling to all!

    • Tim Elmore on September 18, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      Great insight, thank you for sharing your experience on this topic Melanee! It sounds like your daughter is in good hands and will soon be comfortable with this new rite of passage.

  9. realityck on September 17, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    Wonder if the 24-7 access to their friends (especially younger 15-17 year old teens) thru face to face video and pictures has something to do with less need to go anywhere. I had to have a car to see my friends outside of school.

    • Tim Elmore on September 18, 2013 at 2:46 pm

      I agree, that the convenience and efficiency of face to face video over driving impacts their need to go anywhere. I would be interested to look more into this and related research. Thanks for your thoughts!

  10. Eric Dingler on September 18, 2013 at 5:30 am

    There is one thing not considered here, and that’s the parents. How many parents aren’t encouraging their kids to get a license because: They can’t afford it (as if it was up to them), it’s a bit easier to control the kids without a license, they want to keep their kids safe and not letting them drive is safer, etc. I’d be interested in seeing a survey compiled from these same young adult’s parents.

    • Tim Elmore on September 18, 2013 at 2:53 pm

      This very well may be taking place. However, I hope to encourage parents to look beyond these fears in order to build autonomy, opportunity, and responsibility in our kids.

      • Eric Dingler on September 19, 2013 at 6:21 am

        Couldn’t agree more. I’m just curious to the reason behind the reason.

  11. Chuckie Geilenfeld on September 18, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    As a high school teacher in Des Moines, IA I do see how students are too busy. Drivers education has turned into a big business rather than an opportunity for students to get their license. When I was in school it was built into my schedule and ran through the school. Now it is built around the companies teaching it and not the students schedule. So if you’re a student that is involved in a lot of activities and hold a job you may have a hard time fitting it in. There are many times in the summer I have students miss baseball practice to drive because they can’t miss any classes, zero flexibility. Not making excuses for kids but I know when I was in school I would have put my school activities over drivers ed also.

    • Tim Elmore on September 20, 2013 at 7:43 am

      Thanks for your observations Chuckie. I will have to look into this more, that is a shame if the focus has shifted from student learning to company growth.

  12. Lexi Riley on September 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    I’m in my early twenties, and a few of my friends in high school didn’t want to get their lincense when they were old enough either. A lot of them said that they were too busy to get one, but one friend that she was actually scared to drive. Granted we come from a highly populated area where there are lots of cars and you need to be an aggressive driver, but for me, I know that I was so excited to get my lincense even though I didn’t have a car and that gas and car prices are ridcilous nowadays. The fact that I could drive made me feel so much older and more independent––just like how you were saying. I feel like this up and coming generdation show more and more tendencies of laziness and finding the easy ways out.

    • Tim Elmore on September 20, 2013 at 7:57 am

      Lexi, that’s great that you have experienced the independence that comes with driving. I am glad you see that it is about more than driving, it is the concept behind it, that it is a rite of passage to new opportunities and responsibilities. I hope you will share these experiences with your friends, and help them work through their fears and struggles that come with responsibility.

  13. Rosie on September 20, 2013 at 8:26 pm

    Money investment is much higher in this generation than the last. Not only are is the car and the car insurance expensive but also gas prices are ridiculously higher for a teenagers to pay for. Also i know many teen who are fearful of driving because they have seen and heard about so many accidents .

    • Tim Elmore on September 23, 2013 at 9:33 am

      Rosie, I am sure that expenses can largely influence a teenager’s desire to invest in driving. Those situations are hard to control and vary from teen to teen. I do believe that as parents, we need to help our kids break through any fears they may have related to driving. I would rather counsel my kids while they live under my roof to learn and gain the independence they will need as they reach adulthood.

  14. Rachel on September 21, 2013 at 4:33 am

    I passed my driving test just over a week ago. And I’m 29. I left home when I was 19 and moved to a different country. I couldn’t rely on my parents for money or transport or even emotional support. I had to stand on my own two feet and it was tough. Learning to drive wasn’t really an option for me. I had to work and pay rent but I lived in a city where public transport was pretty efficient. Plus I walked and cycled a lot. I’m now married and live in a far more rural area so the time finally came to learn to drive. The sense of freedom I now have is great, knowing I can now pretty much go where I want whenever I want and I can’t wait to get a car soon.
    But I was surprised to meet so many people over the years who can’t drive. I have many friends who still haven’t learnt. My brother can’t drive and he’s 31 – he runs his own business and travels the world. All of the people I know who can’t drive have jobs, work hard and earn a living for themselves. None of them still live at home with their parents. So whilst I completely understand where you’re coming from I think the reasons people choose not to drive are far more varied and complex. The world is a different place now, it moves faster and driving isn’t always a necessity any more.

    • Tim Elmore on September 23, 2013 at 9:20 am

      Rachel, thank you for sharing your experiences. It sounds like you have ventured out and experienced the world more so than most by your age. I definitely agree with you, that there are varied and complex reasons that people choose not to drive. I would say that driving is one of the most common milestones, where kids learn to grow up and become responsible, but it is not the only way.

  15. Tina Schramme on September 21, 2013 at 6:41 pm

    I have contemplated this issue much as well, Tim. I agree with everything you said. I believe this generation is not as interested in achieving certain rites of passage, because it is easier to be taken care of and rely on others. We have done this to them with over-rewarding things like showing up, etc. You have blogged about this many times.
    I also add that when I was growing up, everyone took the driving class together. It was offered at the high school and I took with other friends my age. There was both excitement and encouragement in going through the process with my friends. My own daughter did not want the responsibility. And while I understood and appreciated her mindfulness of that, I told her that in our family it was her responsibility to get her license at age 16. I needed her help in taking care of herself and also some help with siblings and errands. She reluctantly started the process, but once she got into it, she was happy to have the freedom.

    • Tim Elmore on September 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

      That is helpful insight, thanks Tina! I appreciate that as a parent, you took the initiative to let your daughter know she has a responsibility to help the family at age 16. Knowing that getting her license was about more than just her independence probably helped her grasp what growing up meant more quickly than most.

    • Jayne Marquit on October 14, 2013 at 9:41 am

      This reply makes me livid. Come to our house and put how many hours your family works a week against how many my family works a week and then talk to me about kids not getting their license because they aren’t interested. Are you kidding me???????????

  16. Amy on September 23, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Are kids just simply getting overly accustomed to adults doing for them? How can we go about changing a teenager’s mentality from being content with where they are at to wanting independence? I think we have to think through what will motivate kids and why aren’t they motivated. We need to begin to start calling kids adults and treating them like adults much sooner in life. Our expectations of what teenagers can do continues to decrease, and this will hinder the next generation. Today’s adults need to think of the ramifications of treating teenagers as just kids rather than pushing them to greater levels of responsibility directing them toward adulthood.

    • Tim Elmore on September 24, 2013 at 10:11 am

      Amy, I think you are so right. Our expectations of what teenagers can do continues to decrease. It used to be the norm for a 16 year old to get a license, an 18 year old to go off to war, and for a 21 year old to be living independently. We often enable our kids to postpone maturation in order to make it “easier”, while in the long run we are only creating more obstacles for them to overcome.

  17. Jayne Marquit on October 14, 2013 at 9:35 am

    This article is written from a ignorant perspective. I am a single mother, through divorce. When my daughter was in high school, I could not afford to pay 800 dollars for the driver’s ed class at school. Yes, my daughter did have a summer job, but her earnings have always been needed for us to make ends meet in our home. Our lives since she was born have been about survival. My daughter has worked very, very hard in school since kindergarten to become an elementary school teacher and gain financial independence. She has earned many scholarships because of her high grades and work ethic to achieve this goal and today is a senior in college beginning her student teaching and still begging for rides, just waiting for the day she can earn a decent living and have the money to get her driver’s license. It doesn’t help either, that my car has 200,000 miles on it and is on its last legs (and before you judge me, please understand that I have worked multiple jobs for 21 years just to survive and that her father logged zero miles on his car to transport her anywhere in her childhood.) Not having a license keeps her from gaining the independence she is ready for, but financially, it would be impossible for us to pay for a car and insurance and still keep our home. So maybe, this article should focus on how many of these kids who don’t get their license come from single family homes and just don’t have the money to get their license, instead of writing that young people today not getting their license is a negative reflection on their work ethic. I heard on the radio recently, that Obama had a program that paid for children of illegals to get their driver’s licenses. And you dare to judge the children of middle class American families who don’t get their driver’s licenses at 16? Are you kidding me? How dare you. I will think about you when tomorrow I drive 75 miles before sunrise to get my daughter to the school she needs to be at for student teaching and then make the drive 90 miles back to the school where I have worked with Special Needs students for 25 years, trying to keep us afloat. Wake up and see the struggles of AMERICAN families that are destroying our once great country and the future of its hard-working youth.

    • Tim Elmore on October 14, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      Hi Jayne,

      I saw your comment on Facebook also. I realize that not everything I write will be relevant to 100% of the readers on each day. It sounds like you are a devoted mother to your daughter, that you both have lived through very difficult circumstances, and the thoughts in this particular blog post don’t relate to your story at all. I commend you for all you are doing to provide for your daughter and help her prepare for adulthood. I wish you and her the very best.

  18. Jayne Marquit on October 14, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I appreciate your last message to me. It is difficult to be judged against stereotypes we don’t fit.

  19. hmk on October 25, 2013 at 6:18 am

    My son worked at 16 before he got a car. Saved up enough money to buy a car by 17 and drove himself to school. When he bought his car he said he had a sense of accomplishment that he bought it with his own money and still had money in the bank. No regrets, he is a responsible adult who works hard and takes responsibilty.

    • Tim Elmore on October 28, 2013 at 10:05 am

      Sounds like your son has a true appreciation for hard work, the value of a dollar, and how to be independent. There are many paths you can take to get to that point, thanks for modeling this behavior for your son.

  20. Baiemon82 on June 27, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    I’ve also heard that freedom is in instant information – Smartphone and social media. Students would rather have the freedom of instantly responding on social media. This, I think, is a higher freedom vs a Car. Thoughts?

  21. Andrew Lim on November 14, 2014 at 11:03 pm

    The new generation are more aware about pollution from the car manufacturing industries. They have chosen not to participate in the destruction of our homeland, planet Earth.

  22. Joe on November 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Here in Virginia, it has already cost over $500 just for permits, classes and required training. He has a truck sitting in the driveway that we have been using for the required 50 hours before he can even gain admission to the “on the road” course, that will be his when he finishes all else required. When he is done, he has to go in front of the county judge for a “probational” permit that will turn permanent at 18. This state has the toughest regulation that the other states are starting to adopt and, one of the lowest death rate for teen drivers. It isnt as easy as it used to be, pass the permit, take a course and bing bang, Freedom! I completely understand why kids and parents just wait in this economy.

  23. LCL on May 21, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    I live in Seattle. I have two nephews, 18 and 19 that have not learned how to drive. It irks me to the fullest, but they are not my children. Yet, these two boys are very, very independent and not reliant on their parents. They get around on public transportation, bike, car2go and Uber, if utmost needed. I ask them if getting around by their own car is important to them and both have replied that the expense isn’t worth it and neither is the added reliance on fossil fuels. They’ve never missed a family gathering or used lack of transportation as an excuse to get anywhere. I commend them for this.

  24. Megan on May 22, 2015 at 10:33 am

    I’d say that insurance would be the biggest obstacle to getting a driver’s license today. Some just can’t afford to have a young driver added to their insurance due to the high cost. I know that very issue played into why I didn’t get a license until I was 19. And even then still didn’t get a car until I was 22. But by then I was working and living on my own. Times are difficult, but I do think that people can make it even more complicated. Whatever happened to living within your means and doing without things to be able to take care of yourself. Sometimes you have to give up and sacrifice to get what you need and eventually it turns into what you want. Young people don’t have that kind of patience.

  25. ISWidowMaker on April 10, 2016 at 12:09 am

    Frankly, your idea assumes that the youth of today should hold the same concepts of independence and responsibility that your generation held. The same concepts that increase the damage that we cause to our planet on a daily basis. Frankly, I hold a different set of values.

    If an employer cannot handle the fact that I choose to take transit or ride a bike, and values their dollar over their contribution to society, they were not something I would choose to devote a second of my life to.

    Does that stand true for everyone, I can only speak for myself. People are complicated.

    The one thing I can say, is that the way things were, it will never be the way things are. Society will evolve and change, and the face of success will change with it as well.

    It is the way of life, the old dies, and the young take their place. No matter how many times it happens, if you look thoughout history, you will ALWAYS find the old complaining about how the young don’t live up to their ideas of what should be.

    Btw, those damn kids nowadays, walking and texting, someone should make a law!!! Quick, someone get me a cane!


  26. Robin on May 2, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    Lol you said “50% of 18-20 year olds were not interested in getting a license because they were too busy”. That’s not how statistics work. Looking at the survey responses, they add up to over 100% which means individuals had the opportunity to answer with multiple reasons. Also saying they weren’t interested “because” they were too busy implies a causation there that wasn’t stated in the results. If all people who “weren’t interested” also answered that they were “too busy” then that would only give 20% of the survey respondents who claimed to be both. If there was absolutely no overlap between the responses of people who were “too busy” vs “not interested” then that would be 50% of the people but you couldn’t claim that they were not interested because they were too busy since none of the survey responders would have answered with both options. Not to mention that claiming causation from a survey like this is impossible since there is absolutely no data on why people were too busy.
    If you’re going to use data to back up your claims, please make sure you actually know how to interpret survey results.

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