Who needs a license anyway?

I tried to hide it for years, but I think now I’m coming to terms with it.

I didn’t get my driver’s license until I was 28.  I was always the odd one out.  Of course, most of my friends had their driver’s licenses when they were 16.  There were a plethora of reasons I stated whenever questioned about why I didn’t have it.  My Grand Rapids Press internship took up most of my free time.  Freshmen weren’t allowed to drive cars on campus at the college I attended.  All of my friends had cars and drove me everywhere we wanted to go.  Car insurance was more expensive than the car I would be driving.  The list went on and on.

Of course, the truth was, I was deathly afraid of driving.  My mother never drove and her fear of driving landed squarely on my shoulders.  Add to that a drama-filled driving lesson with my father that ended in tears and threats and I felt that life as a pedestrian was a better, more peaceful existence if I could get away with it.  All the while, I felt like a throw-back to the turn of the twentieth century.  In any event, through trial and error, I fought my fears and got my license a few months after my 28th birthday.

My niece turns 18 this year and will be headed off to U of M in the Fall.  She doesn’t have her driver’s license, has very little driving experience under her belt and has no solid plans to rectify the situation.  Hmm.  Sounds familiar.

Then, I saw this article trending today.  Apparently, Generation Y-ers aren’t driven to drive, with 26% of Americans between the age of 16-34 opting out of getting a license.  More than ever before.  I guess I’m not alone…and neither is my niece.  Apparently, not having a driver’s license is a very modern thing.  Instead, Gen Y-er’s are riding bikes, mopeds and using public transportation in droves.  The arguments go from it being better for the environment to being cheaper on the pockets.

As a long-term pedestrian and, now, avid driver, I can see both sides of the divide.  I have to admit, though,  that I do not  miss standing atop mounds of snow while waiting for the bus.

4 Responses to “Who needs a license anyway?”

  1. July 2, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    I always enjoy a good confession! Thanks!

    That's a pretty heft chunk of people. I saw an article over the weekend about people falling in the same age bracket choosing to live in urban areas over suburban and relying on public transportation and biking. I think it is a healthy and positive shift for everyone.

  2. July 2, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    I always enjoy a good confession! Thanks!

    That’s a pretty heft chunk of people. I saw an article over the weekend about people falling in the same age bracket choosing to live in urban areas over suburban and relying on public transportation and biking. I think it is a healthy and positive shift for everyone.

  3. July 3, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    After going through driver's training, I swore I was never going to get my license. I was going to move to a large city where I didn't need it. However, I had to change that position when I got a job and had to work after school. No one was available to drive me and I lived in a rural area, so I had to finally get my license. Some days I still wish I didn't drive. (Hello, expensive car repairs!) I wish there was a bus stop closer to my house.

  4. July 3, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    After going through driver’s training, I swore I was never going to get my license. I was going to move to a large city where I didn’t need it. However, I had to change that position when I got a job and had to work after school. No one was available to drive me and I lived in a rural area, so I had to finally get my license. Some days I still wish I didn’t drive. (Hello, expensive car repairs!) I wish there was a bus stop closer to my house.