The Road Can Wait: Some Teens Postpone Getting Their Permits


Sara Beth Cimowsky

Sophomore Kate Breeden is one of the many who have yet to get their permits.

zThere’s no better feeling than freedom. As a teenager, I can’t wait to create a life of my own without the restraints of school or my parents (sorry, mom), and I’m sure everyone can relate. For most of us, our freedom is sacred and hard-earned.

In middle school freedom probably meant your first phone, your first time hanging out at the mall with your friends, or maybe even a first date. Upon reaching high school, this freedom that we so long for arrives in the form of a little plastic card – a driver’s license.

However it seems that many of our peers are waiting months or even years after their 15th birthday to get their permit. Back in the day our parents eagerly anticipated the days counting down to their 15th and 16th birthdays, but now this rush seems to have slowed. It would seem there’s a growing contingent of students who are saying “no thanks” to immediately taking the wheel.

Sophomore Jack Yanoshik believes this declining interest in driving stems from the overall decline in the popularity of the car among Generation Z. “For people our age, it’s no longer an essential part of the American Dream,” he said.

This claim is possibly due to the widespread use of transportation apps such as Uber and Lyft. Quick and easy rides are now available in just a few taps. It’s relatively cheap and seems to be hand-crafted for the tech-savvy, rushed people of our generation. The convenient nature of such apps have led many to young teens to ask: Why learn to drive when someone can do it for me?

History teacher Eleanor Brookins finds waiting to get your license or permit confusing. “In my time, we couldn’t wait to drive. I needed to be able to drive to school,” she said.

The advancement of phones is undoubtedly a solid reason why young people are waiting to drive. Back in the olden days, parents had to share those big, old, crusty home phones with their family to communicate with their friends, causing them to crave more in-person contact than we do. Our friends are only a click away, so if a group text can easily satisfy your thirst for human interaction, the want to drive lessens.

But maybe it’s more than convenient apps or iMessages. The stress of studying for your permit or license test amid all your other homework and obligations is daunting and it’s easy to put it off if it doesn’t seem like a top priority. The material isn’t the easiest to master at first and the idea of failing is intimidating.

Yet, because it is important to know how to drive in order to establish independence, it is on behalf of our parents and future versions of ourselves that we must buckle down, study that manual, and go ahead and pass those tests. Although waiting is completely understandable, you’ll be grateful in a few years when you don’t have to beg your fully licensed friends for a ride.