More teens are driving in a booming economy

While the number of licensed teenage drivers began to drop sharply a decade ago — a statistic that’s been attributed to anything from the pervasiveness of the Internet and smartphones to just plain indifference — an increasing number of them are again getting behind the wheel.

That’s according to an analysis conducted by the Highway Data Loss Institute in Arlington, Va., which credits the reversal of fortunes to a concurrent boost in teenage employment. “It seems like many teens really do want to drive after all, and much of the earlier decline in driving was due to the disproportionate effect of the economy on teen employment,” says HLDI vice-president Matt Moore. “When teenagers have jobs, they have more of a need to drive, along with money to help pay for it.”

But that might not be a good thing as far as highway safety is concerned. That’s because teens have the highest crash rate per mile traveled among all drivers, according to the HLDI.

— Jim Gorzelany
© CTW Features

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