Why The Young Hate Cars

Well, maybe hate is too strong.

But they sure seem not to like them very much. As evidenced by the fact that a record-high percentage haven’t even got a driver’s license – and have no intention (according to what they tell researchers) of ever getting one.

How high?

Pushing 30 percent (and upticking each year) of present-day 19-year-olds.

As contrasted with almost no 19-year-olds back in the ’90s and before.

They are opting out.

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Cars – and driving – are no longer a ticket to ride, for teenagers or otherwise. But especially for teenagers, who’ve been singled out for enhanced hassle – ostensibly because they are “inexperienced” and thus, apparently, to be be presumed dangerous (though this principle has yet to be applied in similar fashion to the experienced but aged). One wonders how they are to be expected to acquire experience when they are discouraged from becoming experienced.

A driver’s license has become the two-legged analog of the tags punched into the ears of cattle to keep track of them. Us (that is, adults), too. And driving has become so controlled, so micromanaged that it’s not unlike having to get formal, explicit (and perhaps soon, written) consent before each “base” is covered when you’re making out, as demanded by some 190 proof feministas. 

In other words, not much fun.

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Teens are anxious above all to become adults, which entails being able to do as adults do. A driver’s license at 16 used to facilitate exactly that. Its possessor could drive anywhere, anytime – just like an adult. It was tangible, real-deal freedom. Not so now. Many states do not allow full-access driving privileges for years after a young person’s 16th birthday – in some cases, not until the age of 21. The license is highly conditional and extremely restrictive. Even more so than it is for the rest of us. The budding driver may not, for instance, drive with other teens in the car. Nor past a certain hour of the evening. In some states, teenaged drivers are required to have special plates affixed to their cars – which is an embarrassment. Not too far removed from requiring them to wear diapers – just in case.

Would you want to go through the hassle – and expense – of getting a government permission slip to drive if such conditions were imposed on you?

There is also the vicious “zero tolerance” nonsense that imposes disparate punishment on teens because they are teens. A person over the age of 21 is considered sober – or at least, not legally “drunk” – in most states until their blood alcohol level is at or above a certain arbitrary threshold. But if you are a teen driver less-than-21 years of age and the faintest whiff (literally) of alcohol is detected, you are considered legally “drunk” and can expect to be taken to the equivalent of Orwell’s Room 101.

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