The Slow Death of the Driver’s License

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


It’s pretty common knowledge by now that teenagers don’t drive cars nearly as much as they did back when I was growing up. Partly that’s because getting a license is more onerous, partly it’s because parents are more willing to be chauffeurs, and partly it’s because social media has made it more attractive to spend time at home.

But I was a little surprised to read in the LA Times this morning that this has already had a significant downstream effect. Even among 30-year-olds, the number of people with driver’s licenses is down from 96 percent to 89 percent. That’s a surprisingly large drop. I suppose part of this could be explained by the increasing population of large metro areas with decent transit, but I’m not sure that fits the facts. The population of rural areas has shrunk over the past few decades, but I think most of the corresponding population growth has been in small cities and suburbs, which are tough to get around in without a car.

So….I’m not sure what’s going on. Zipcar and similar services are nowhere near big enough to explain it. I suppose Google has the answers somewhere, but it’s Saturday and I don’t feel like spending the time to find out. I’m going to go toss some frisbees around instead.

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

MOTHER JONES NEEDS YOUR HELP

Straight to the point: Donations have been concerningly slow for our hugely important First $500,000 fundraising campaign. We urgently need your help, and a lot of help, over the next few weeks so we can pay for the one-of-a-kind journalism you get from us.

Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” where we lay out this wild moment and how we can keep charging hard for you. And please help if you can: $5, $50, or $500—every gift from every person truly matters right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate