(Old folks click here for a definition.)
I see it with my own 16-year-old daughter. She has shown no interest in getting a driver’s license. Among her peers she is not at all weird for her “meh-ness” concerning driving.
Now she did declare a couple of weeks ago that she was, OK, gonna finally, I guess, get around to, maybe, taking the driver’s test. I happened to peek in her room just yesterday to discover the driver’s manual on her bedroom floor (along with half her belongings) — rumpled and unopened.
Owning a car was once a rite of passage for young Americans on par with algebra and the prom. But, according to a recent report from MSNBC, more young people are sitting out the ritual driver’s tests and the time-honored privilege of getting the keys to a hand-me-down clunker.
The number of young adults between 20 and 24 who are licensed to drive dropped by five percent between 1994 and 2008, down to 82 percent, according to the Federal Highway Administration. Among 16-year-olds, just 31 percent held a driver’s license in 2008, compared to about 42 percent in 1994. Experts attribute the decline not only to a sour economy, but also to a growing ambivalence among younger generations about driving and car ownership more generally.
The post raises two important questions:
- What kind of transportation system are they facing with their meh attitude?
- If they can sustain this attitude, how might it influence what we build in the years to come?
Now might be a good time to review:
Our Urban Challenge Series: