Posted: Aug 30, 2013 11:00 AM
 
When we were kids, the very day we turned 16 we begged our parents to take us to the DMV to get the coveted driver's license. But kids these days don't seem as eager to get their license right away. What's the deal, and how should parents be treating this?

Passing your driving test and earning your driver's license is one of the greatest rite-of-passage moments in every teen's life. But these days, there are an increasing number of teens who have no interest in driving. We asked some seasoned mothers of teens why their kids weren't driving.

Driving Miss Scaredy

Every one of her friends — including her boyfriend , who is the most conscientious kid — has had either a fender bender, wreck, and in one case, a roll over on a slick road here. I believe this is why she's not in a hurry.

Many of the moms we polled felt that the main reason their 16-year-old wasn't driving was anxiety about the driving itself. Mary Anne Payne said that although her daughter wants to be independent and has a bit of a wild streak, she admits to being scared. "Every one of her friends — including her boyfriend , who is the most conscientious kid — has had either a fender bender, wreck, and in one case, a roll over on a slick road here. I believe this is why she's not in a hurry," Payne says about her daughter.

Especially if you live in a high-traffic, metropolitan area, the thought of driving alone and being responsible for a vehicle may be enough to keep your teen from begging to be behind the wheel. Amy Ruhlin shared that both of her teens were in no rush. "I think they were scared of driving in all of the traffic here in Atlanta," she says. "They both got them [driver's license] close to age 17. It is interesting how they feel afraid now when back in our day we felt only excitement and were at the DOT [Department of Transportation] the moment we turned 16," she added.

No need

Teens who live in areas with excellent public transportation systems may not see an immediate need for a driver's license. Julie Phelps wonders if this might be why big-city kids shy away from driving. "I can see this happening in a city like San Francisco, Boston [or] New York, but in other areas, it sounds so very different than 'in my day'. Oh, well, we only needed a license for driving the horse drawn buggies through town back then," she jokes.

"My son got his license at 22," shares Vikki Claflin."He went into the service at 18, but before that, he says he just 'dated girls who drove.' That's my boy," she adds. When your teen's friends already have a license, it may seem easier for them to just hitch a ride. But many states now have graduated licensing, and it may take a year of driving before a teen can legally drive around with teen friends in the car.

Mom Elizabeth Lee also sees that her younger kids don't have the need to drive that we may have had as teens. "I think there are a variety of reasons this is happening at my house," she shares. "There is less of an impetus to start driving because my kids don't have to leave home to have virtual connections with other people. My two younger kids can always find another family member to take them where they really want to go," she adds.

I personally think it's good for kids to wait to drive a lot until they turn 17. We've seen a great difference by easing into driving that first year.

Sara says her youngest son could drive all sorts of farm vehicles, but showed zero interest in getting his driver's license. "He had no interest in getting his driver's license," she says. "Living in the country, he has access to driving tractors, four wheelers, lawn mowers, and what he saw as a necessity for him. Since he did not have a job outside of school, a driver's license did not matter, [and] he was content riding the school bus to school," she shares. Now 18, her son is driving and has a clean record. "I personally think it's good for kids to wait to drive a lot until they turn 17. We've seen a great difference by easing into driving that first year," she adds.

Parents say why rush?

Unless your child has a job or attends a school that isn't close to home, maybe it really isn't that important to get a driver's license at the age of 16. "Both my teens were eager to drive but my philosophy is don't push it if they're not ready," shares Mandy Walker. "There's no point. That being said, I'm happy they've had lots of driving experience before going off to college. It's really good to be close to home when they have their first stop by the police, first snow-related incident and first accident — and those will happen," she adds.

Janie Emaus wasn't really disappointed when her daughter was reluctant to drive at age 16. "And I wasn't anxious for her to get her license after she stepped on the gas instead of the brake as she came up our driveway, during one of our nail-biting driving lessons," she adds.

Share with us!^ What does your teen think? Eager to drive, or not so much? Leave us a comment below!

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