January 29, 2013

Teens without drivers licenses increasing

Agnostic posts a graph showing the percentage of teens with drivers' licenses has fallen steadily since its Fast-Times-At-Ridgemont-High peak. 

Generally, it's much harder to pass the driver's test now. Kids flunk it multiple times. Also, there are all sorts of restrictions on new drivers to prevent the kind of horrific stories you used to read in the papers about four 16-year-olds being killed in a one car accident celebrating the driver's 16th birthday.

Drunk driving is very expensive now. I recently overheard one intelligent looking youth explaining to his less acute looking friend that a single DUI would cost you about $10,000 all told -- a good round number to memorize.

I gather that bicycling is once again popular nationally, but it's hard to see that here in L.A., where bicycle riding is a tiny fraction of what it was during its peak in the 1970s. Too many accidents, I guess. I rode to school everyday for a couple of years in high school, taking only one day off after I got flattened by a car. But that was the 1970s, and good sense was not abundant.

Overall, kids just don't go out much anymore. They have glowing screens at home. 

68 comments:

ironrailsironweights said...

Car insurance for young drivers has gotten very expensive.

Peter

Scots-Irish Manhattan Liberal said...

Great news

Anonymous said...

Mining Dusk in Autumn for material?

I read his post on this years ago.

Anonymous said...

My son is almost 15. I have told him he will be getting his permit the first day he is eligible. I have told him that he is getting his license on his 16th birthday, so not to make other plans.

countenance said...

No jobs for teens/young adults to pay for the increasingly expensive insurance and gas. No jobs because of "comprehensive immigration reformers" to do the jobs that Americans "won't do."

MKP said...

That's quite a drop - well over 70 percent in the early 1980s to about 50 percent now.

With respect to the world of teenagers now, I think a lot of older people (I include myself, and I'm 31) don't truly understand how these kids truly live their lives on the internet. Their Facebook pages, twitter accounts, etc, are how they present their personalities to the world. Yeah, there are still keg parties, and some people still loiter at the mall. But teenagers actually "hang out" on the internet - they introduce each other, pose, flirt, talk, and generally interact on the internet.

Middle-aged and elderly people, and even young 30-somethings, hear about Manti Te'o having a "girlfriend" who he's been "dating" for months, and who he's never met in real life, and they think "Jesus, that guy belongs in a lunatic asylum." Whereas younger people hear that, and ... yeah, it's still weird, but it almost makes sense in a way. After another 10 years, it won't even be weird.

For now, at least, wjile so much interaction occurs online, but it's still centered around (increasingly rare) in-person interactions or the hope thereof. IE, most teenagers who paper their Facebook pages with flattering pictures of themselves still want to meet up in person to fuck (sorry, Steve). But when even that stops being the case, 14 to 19 year olds will again be at the cutting edge. Then we'll be in interesting times.

Steve Sailer said...

And that's the explanation for the Fermi Paradox: the aliens got Facebook and died out.

Anonymous said...

It might be a different picture if broken down by race. Here in Texas, Hispanics don't get drivers licenses when they turn 16 much less by the time they're 30.

Corn said...

Illinois just passed a law granting illegals driving licenses, so we should see our licensing rates go up.
Too bad our number of insured drivers won't ......

DYork said...

Well they're just doing it outside the law more now.

No license, no insurance, still driving. Especially true of the people of vibrancy.

Compare it to out of wedlock sex, cohabitation and births.

More people now just don't want the government involved.

Auntie Analogue said...


It's not just that today's young have "glowing screens at home," because they also have those same glowing screens in their palms and on their laps, screens that they take with them wherever mass transit takes them.

Gone are the days when you had to hump your mass of analogue gear about in an attache case or shoulder bag. Nowadays one needn't even wear a wristwatch, as everything one needs to know or to show is now contained in the petite slab of a smartphone or in the slightly larger dimensions of a laptop that takes up very little volume of the inside of a backpack.

A car is no longer needed to get away from one's parents - from parental oversight, as with a single finger-flick of their superior digital device fluency today's young can and do simply shut out parental oversight of their adventures in cyberspace.

Victor said...

It could also have to do with the fact that many teenagers simply can't afford their own car. Indeed, why get a driver's license if you can't get a car?

Everyone knows the middle class is shrinking. Fewer teenagers driving around in their own cars is just one more sympton of it.

Anonymous said...

I gather that bicycling is once again popular nationally, but it's hard to see that here in L.A., where bicycle riding is a tiny fraction of what it was during its peak in the 1970s. Too many accidents, I guess. I rode to school everyday for a couple of years in high school, taking only one day off after I got flattened by a car. But that was the 1970s, and good sense was not abundant.

On the East Coast, you see lots of Mexican service workers (fast food, cooks, janitors, etc) ride bikes to work.

Anonymous said...

Some of my nephews and nieces are in this demographic. My eldest nephew, a sophomore in college, just recently got his driver's license.

When he was a junior in high school, his answer to why he doesn't want a driver's license was "It just seems like a big hassle. And, I don't want to pollute the Earth more than necessary" Teenage logic.

I guess it took a less than satisfactory freshmen year in terms of dating to finally want a car. Lol.

Col. Reb Sez said...

I got my learner's permit at 14.5 and my license at 15. Most of my friends started driving illegally before they were 15. The police didn't care. I drove my Honda 50 and Honda 70 in the streets from about age 11. The private academy had about a dozen cars parked at the gates to the school each day. The school told underage drivers that they couldn't drive on campus but that they were welcome to park on the edge of campus.

Now the driving age is 16, kids can't ride minibikes on the street and the police department would love nothing more than to bust some middle-class underage driver. It was a better world 35 years ago.

Mike said...

Anonymous @ 8:02, I told my son he's getting a ride exactly no where on his 16th birthday.

Anonymous @ 8:16, like you I'm in Texas and your comment made me laugh.

Matthew said...

Teenage employment rates are way down over the last few decades. No work means no money to pay for the car or the insurance. Plus their parents aren't doing great, either/ And yeah, the illegal thing, too.

Still, I really don't get that parents don't get their kid a license when they're 16, unless they don't want the extra insurance costs.

Anonymous said...

Well, that's certainly differant Texas from California Mexicans and I'm not talking about the illegal types that ride bicyles to work. Children of illegal and legal Mexicans in California are able to drive since they are lowrider crazy.

DaveinHackensack said...

"Also, there are all sorts of restrictions on new drivers to prevent the kind of horrific stories you used to read in the papers about four 16-year-olds being killed in a one car accident celebrating the driver's 16th birthday."

Around here last year, there was a horrific story of a 16-year-old taking a party bus.

Anonymous said...

Im 20. I grew up in CT. It was a big pain in the ass to get my driver´s license befor 18. At 16 I needed to first get a permit, with a bunch of rules, and with no mishaps I´d get my license after 6 monthes. But, I still had bitchy rules until I turned 18. I might as well have gotten it at 18, it would be a lot less hastle.

My sister just turned 16, and she has even more rigid rules than I had to deal with. Even her permit is going to be a photo ID. Mine was only a crummy piece of paper. Eventually driving will only start at 18 or 21, mark my words...

Anonymous said...

"Drunk driving is very expensive now. I recently overheard one intelligent looking youth explaining to his less acute looking friend that a single DUI would cost you about $10,000 all told -- a good round number to memorize."

Why? If it's your first offence, why not just get a public defender? Don't you just get probation on your first offense? Are there some courts costs, but is that 10 grand? It seems like a lot for standing there saying guilty and getting probation.

Anonymous said...

It's too bad we had to build this country around cars, but I guess it was inevitable because of the romance of the car.

I read in Walkable Cities that suburbs are more dangerous than cities because of the car deaths. The older cities are safer than places like Houston that are more spread out.But people live in the cities, but work in the suburbs so I guess they are taking a higher risk by going into the suburbs.

400,000 Americans have died in car accidents since 9-11.

Anonymous said...

How much does a DUI Cost?

Costs for DUI have been estimated to be more than " If it's your first offence, why not just get a public defender? Don't you just get probation on your first offense? Are there some courts costs, but is that 10 grand? It seems like a lot for standing there saying guilty and getting probation."


From the California Dept. of EtOH and Drug Programs website:

$6,600 (actual costs may vary). Here is a conservative itemized breakdown for a first DUI offense:

Fines/Penalties—$1,000
Tow/Impound Fee—215
DUI Treatment Program—626
Court Costs—800
Insurance Increase—500-1,500
Attorney Fees—2,500
Total Approximate Cost:—$6,641

So cut out the attorney and you're still looking at 4 grand. That's not 10, but still pretty steep for most.

stari_momak said...

Do schools still have 'free' driver's ed? I see a lot of kids in private driver's school cars. Yet another casualty of our need to educate the spawn of Mexico's spawn?

Foreign Expert said...

Cultural Relativism: In Massachusetts your learner's permit application has to be signed by your parent, guardian, or Boarding School Headmaster.

stari_momak said...

Thanks to Googlemaps, I can find out instantly that I road my bike 1.1 miles to school, starting in first grade. I road to little league practice, too. There was one crossing guard on the way. That was in flatland Orange County, just before the huge immigrant wave started to hit (though there was already a trickle.

One of the costs Americans have paid is that we have had to move into hilly areas where kids can't possibly get around on a bike by themselves, thus necessitating the SUV and Mom as a chauffeur.


(And, surprisingly, a lot, perhaps most homes in hilly areas, don't even have great views as a compensation -- builders typically just grade off the top of hills now, creating something like a Celtic HIll Fort of a development. Homes in the interior of the development look out onto other homes.)

DirtyTricks said...

Lack of jobs?
It's fear of hiring teenagers.

"Child" labor laws have become very strict and very expensive for employers that violate them.

In my state, those under 18 can work only fours without a break. This is but one law; there are others. Violators face up to $10,000 per event. No other labor law related fine is this much. Hiring illegals is much cheaper. As a result, some employers hire illegals over US teens.

stari_momak said...

"or Boarding School Headmaster."

In bloody loco
parentis.

Nicknack said...

When I reached age 15-1/2 in SoCal in the 1970's I got a learner's permit which let me drive legally with any licensed adult in the car. I didn't get a proper license until was nearly 18, though, because I didn't really need a car and didn't want to pay for insurance (which, before Prop. 103, was a lot for 16-year-old boys). Instead I just kept getting a new learner's permit over and over, so I could drive on family trips under my parents' insurance at no extra charge.

I feel lucky not to have been subjected to the current fascist "youth driver license" regime.

Tim said...

Expensive? A difficult test? I sense an opportunity for a disparate impact suit.

John Mansfield said...

My father as a fourteen-year-old in 1940 was driving, and he worked as a teen at jobs that don't exist now like setting bowling pins and pumping gas by hand (he once filled Clark Gable's tank), or in places that minor can't go near today like lumber mills. And every spare moment so given to hunting and fishing.

When I was 16 in 1982, I bought a 20-year-old pickup for $100, but I couldn't afford an Apple II computer. The pickup was so wide open and simple under the hood that a teen could do a lot in there with a father's guidance.

In my state these days, a boy can't legally drive with a girl he's not related to in the car until he's at least 17 years and 2 months old.

Sixty years from now, old men will remember the glory days when they looked at screens with their eyes and pushed buttons with their fingers instead of lying in bed receiving electric pleasure shocks directly to the brain the way the kids these days do.

ben tillman said...

Why? If it's your first offence, why not just get a public defender? Don't you just get probation on your first offense? Are there some courts costs, but is that 10 grand? It seems like a lot for standing there saying guilty and getting probation.

Your insurance goes up a couple hundred dollars per month for three years, and you may have to pay probation fees of like $50 per month. And there may be some other miscellaneous costs (like getting your car out of impound) that I'm forgetting about.

Dahinda said...

Another thing is that younger people (20's and early 30's) don't want backyards anymore. They do not want the chore of mowing and upkeep that comes with them. More and more new developments and are a bunch of houses stacked close together.

Anonymous said...

Here in Canada, probably costs you $25 to 35K for a DUI. ine the end
$1,000-1,500 Fine
$300 for mandatory drivers' ed course
$1,200 for breath analyzer installation which
is required in your car. Detects alcohol on your
breath, car won't start.
$1,000 for recalibration of breath analyzer at local cop shop.
$25,000 for additional insurance over the next five or seven years when you get your license back
Plus the costs of getting around for a year. Taxis aren't cheap.
Plus lawyer's cost if you want to fight the charge.

Hypocrisy of the Elites said...

Generally, it's much harder to pass the driver's test now.

***COUGH*** griggs -v- duke power ***COUGH***

Anonymous said...

Starting in the late 1990s, American states began enacting laws that restrict teenagers' ability to start driving, to drive at night, to drive with relatives other than their parents in the car, to drive non-related passengers around, etc. A few states even began requiring that teenage drivers have as many as 65 hours of documented, behind-the wheel, instruction and supervised driving with a state-approved instructor before applying for a driver's license. See, for example, the rules in Connecticut and Pennslyvania: http://www.ct.gov/teendriving/cwp/view.asp?q=413528&a=3369
http://www.dmv.state.pa.us/teendriverscenter/newteendriverslaw.shtml

The days when someone could get their learner's permit at 16, have a parent or older sibling help them practice in an empty parking lot, quickly pass a written and road test at the local DMV, and start giving rides to their friends and relatives are largely over.

As is much of the fun and utility associated with driving as a teenager. Parents who can no longer rely on teenage drivers to run errands or to pick up the their siblings after school are increasingly reluctant to spend time and money helping them get a license. The new rules also effectively eliminate the another incentive to get one's license: the ability to pick-up one's significant other in a car for a date and post-date “parking.”

Anonymous said...

Mixed feelings. From a safety perspective this is a big positive - teenage drivers are definitely way more dangerous. In my high school senior class there was a serious accident that left one kid paralyzed for life.

But turning 16 and getting your license and being able to drive places with your friends is a rite of passage - seems like kids are missing something not doing that. Of course if not having your license in high school became a norm then kids probably would not really miss it.

We probably all have mixed feelings on the safety culture. Before having kids I mainly focused on the freedom, spirit and adventure it seems to take out of life. But now with 2 young kids I can see the merits in it.

FWG said...

I have to be honest, I failed my driver's test twice. The mean black lady didn't like the way I parallel parked, and in fairness to her, it wasn't that great. Also, she might not have liked I took the test in my dad's luxury vehicle. Third time's a charm though. I've never had to parallel park in my life though, as I don't go downtown much, and if I do, I always find a garage.

I actually saw Agnostic's post and commented there as well. I'm amazed by the number of 20-somethings I know who don't drive (and they live in areas either without mass transit or very basic mass transit). I go nuts being cooped inside the house an entire day, much less the amount of time these people are stuck inside.

Anonymous said...

Cynically I expect greater costs and legal penalties reduce the number of white middle class kids driving, the vibrant diversity just ignores it.

elvisd said...

I got my learner's permit at 14.5 and my license at 15. Most of my friends started driving illegally before they were 15. The police didn't care. I drove my Honda 50 and Honda 70 in the streets from about age 11. The private academy had about a dozen cars parked at the gates to the school each day. The school told underage drivers that they couldn't drive on campus but that they were welcome to park on the edge of campus.

Sounds like me. You must be from Mississippi from back when you could permit at 14, though a lot of farm kids would start at 12 or 13.

pat said...

I don't know about Fast Times at Ridgemont High. That's well after my time.

I was a driving instructor in the mid-sixties in San Francisco. We all considered the California driving test to be too easy. Of course we had a financial bias. But there were many cases where the student demanded to be allowed to take the test rather than take more lessons. We always expected the examiners to flunk them but usually they didn't. The civil servants let far too many terrible and dangerous drivers onto the public streets.

Many of these licensed but incompetent drivers had an early accident. They took the fact that they passed the test too seriously.

So if it's true now that the tests are harder - good!

Albertosaurus

poolside said...

This is an interesting trend that I've noticed, too.

The reality is that kids today just don't go out as much as we did. They are content to stay home and stay plugged in.

I used to beg my kids to go somewhere ... the mall, a movie, anywhere. I eventually gave up when I realized their friends never went anywhere either.

Obviously electronic media plays a part, but driving IS very expensive. With three drivers under age 21, I pay a fortune in insurance. A lot of the young kids I know simply can't afford driver's ed, a car and insurance.

Cail Corishev said...

"Eventually driving will only start at 18 or 21, mark my words..."

That seems to be the goal. I ran into an odd situation because my state required driver's ed to get a license before 18, but the school I attended was in a state that didn't, so it wasn't offered. So I couldn't get a license back home and had to fib a little to get one in my school's state. As soon as I turned 18, it was a breeze to go get one at home.

The thinking is that 16-17-year-olds have way more accidents, so we should make them wait. The problem with that is that the reason 18-year-olds have fewer accidents is that they've been practicing and making mistakes for a couple years. If we just bump the minimum age up to 18, it might reduce the number of accidents a little, but mostly it'll just mean 18-19 are the terrible years. Then we'll need to move it up to 21....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 1/29/13, 8:16 PM is correct. As the minority percentage of the population increases, formal licensing decreases. Blacks and hispanics are notorious for driving without a license. And insurance? Forget about it. Here in Chicago there are several hit-and-runs each week committed by minority drivers. They usually have no license, or a suspended license, and they never, ever have insurance. If there's an accident, they simply flee. In the case of blacks, they get out of the car and flee on foot!

MaMu1977 said...

@Anonymous 10:13AM

For military members, a DUI/ARI (Alcohol related incident) is a *very* effective way to remove yourself from the promotion cycle (short term and long term.) In the Navy and Air Force, multiple DUIs essentially ensures that you're **never, ever** going to make E-8/O-6 or higher in your career (depending on your timeline, you may never even make it to O-5. I used to work with a few rural-assigned 20+ year Majors, who would tell you that they made so many mistakes as young officers that they're just happy to be there.)

The short term deficits aren't much better. An E-4 with a line number for E-5 commits a DUI, his line number gets thrown in the trash (No promotion for you!). *Then*, he loses 1 or more stripes (Less pay for you!) **Then** he may have his pay docked even further, depending on the commander and offense in question (Driving by yourself in Montana? No problem. Blowing a 0.13 with a backseat full of defenseless people in Texas? You won't have any extra money for a long time...) And God forbid that you had (note the use of the work "had") orders to transfer overseas (those are gone as well. No Germany for you, dumbass!)

I've known Airmen who lost thousands of dollars for that exact sequence of actions.
Get caught driving drunk.
Lose 2 stripes for 6 months (base pay drops from $650 to $500/check), for an $1800 loss)
Lose promotion to SSGT, have to wait 18 months or more to re-test
If lucky, get promoted to E-5 as your peers get promoted to E-6...

The difference in salary between almost putting on E-5 and starting over as an E-2 is worth a five-figure loss by itself. Add in the civil costs, replacement costs for the vehicle, etc., and it just isn't worth it.

jody said...

"And that's the explanation for the Fermi Paradox: the aliens got Facebook and died out."

apparently this is what is happening to japan and south korea. men under 30 are not interested in women. they just want to play video games, chat on the internet, and jerk off to porn. anecdotally, there is every sign that this is beginning to happen in the US too.

you would think the aliens would anticipate this threat to their civilization and begin cloning themselves. maybe one day japan or south korea will do just that.

"It could also have to do with the fact that many teenagers simply can't afford their own car. Indeed, why get a driver's license if you can't get a car?"

true. used car prices are at an all time high. as are gasoline prices. and insurance prices.

"On the East Coast, you see lots of Mexican service workers (fast food, cooks, janitors, etc) ride bikes to work."

in most east coast cities i've been to in the last 4 years, i notice more africans walking to their minimum wage jobs at the mall or the fast food place. they go for 2 or 3 miles along the side of rural highways. most of these roads aren't lit. this makes it dangerous when you're driving at night because they're walking home from work and you don't see them until you're right on top of them.

car crashes are up year over year due to drivers being distracted by their electronic devices. ray lahood tried to address this.

DaveinHackensack said...

"I was a driving instructor in the mid-sixties in San Francisco."

I always look forward to Pat/Albertosaurus's comments here. He is like the Mr. Belvedere of iSteve -- he's done everything. Social worker, computer programmer, driving instructor, leader of BDSM harem... and I'm sure I've left a few roles out.

jody said...

anyway, here is the real reason US oil imports are down:

http://tinyurl.com/bgabgwb

you may read articles that say it's because vehicles are more fuel efficient now. that's not the reason. they definitely did not get that much more fuel efficient in a couple years.

the reason is that america does less stuff now. it builds less, it drives less, it moves less. under obama, the US is going backwards.

miles driven on america's highways have been going DOWN every year since 2007 and they are NOT going back up. car sales in 2012, which were supposed to be "good", were 3 million units below what they were 6 years ago.

real growth is probably either 0% or negative. if you drop the US federal government's deficit spending out of the economy, you'd probably see an immediate 7% or 8% contraction in GDP. in other words, a severe recession. obama has taken the US federal government from about 20% of GDP to 25% of GDP. and he wants to take it higher. and republicans are willing and able to go along.

and it's all based on borrowing trillions of dollars at the lowest possible interest rate, so that simply paying interest on the debt doesn't crush everybody. the rates can never go back up.

Camlost said...

And insurance? Forget about it. Here in Chicago there are several hit-and-runs each week committed by minority drivers. They usually have no license, or a suspended license, and they never, ever have insurance. If there's an accident, they simply flee. In the case of blacks, they get out of the car and flee on foot!

The uninsured black drivers want to get out and ask you to "work it out" with them instead of call the cops or notify insurance after an accident... as if you could ever trust them to pay.

Camlost said...

I never would have been able to afford insurance at age 16 on my own. My dad just tacked me on to his policy, but most of our increasingly numerous vibrant Americans don't have that option.

alonzo portfolio said...

fear of hiring teenagers

Around '98 a Foot Locker opened on Telegraph Ave. adjacent to the Berkeley campus, then closed 4 yrs. later. The manager told me the black teenagers he employed, a city requirement to get the business license, handed out his inventory to their friends.

ScottB said...

Wouldn't these stats be more informative if instead of measuring from ages 16-19, they started at the highest of all the states' minimum driving ages? (Which is 18, isn't it?)

If your state's driving age is 18, you can't possibly have more than half of 16-19-year-olds driving, and if it's 17, you can't have more than three-quarters.

As a visually-impaired person who had a near-impossible time getting a job while living in the suburbs as a teenager without a car, I'm ecstatic to see fewer teenagers driving. Anything that makes cars less essential to daily life is a win. I'm so happy to have found a steady job in the big city, for a company that has no branches in any other places.

If your job moves to some car-dependent ex-urban town, you basically have to quit, and have no recourse. You basically can't live in the vast majority of suburbs and small towns. Even food shopping is surprisingly difficult because plastic bags are designed to last only long enough to get from the cash register to your car, and not for a 30-minute walk back home (as I've learned to my chagrin).

It seems to be expected that every American adult has access to a car and has the right to drive one. Employers almost always provide free parking -- only to those who drive to work. Put a car in your garage, and the garage square footage isn't taxed, but make that space into living space for human beings, and your property tax goes up. There's a huge highway infrastructure paid for by taxes; not just gas taxes, but also taxes paid for by people who are forbidden from using the highways because of the way they were born.

Is there any race, religion, or ethnicity that is discriminated against in American life quite like the non-driver?



Anonymous said...

In Europe, as in the States, young men have the biggest and best accidents. Several of my oldest son's friends have rolled or otherwise written off cars.

Insurance is compulsory here and also very expensive for those young men - maybe £2000-3000 a year for a £700 car.

Girls used to pay a lot less - until December 2012. Now, by order of the EU, insurers can't charge males and females different rates. The War On Biology is well advanced here.

At the other end of life, men traditionally got cheaper pension annuity rates than women, because they die younger. They still die younger, but the rates now have to be the same.

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-2111962/30-SECOND-GUIDE-EU-gender-directive.html

Anonymous said...

"Here in Chicago there are several hit-and-runs each week committed by minority drivers."

In the UK, some minorities (mainly Asian Muslims) commit insurance fraud known as "Cash For Crash". In urban traffic they'll brake suddenly, the car behind hits them and they get out rubbing their necks. "Whiplash" claims are big business here because it's a self-assessed diagnosis i.e it assumes the honesty of the claimant.

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-1681947/Crook-behind-Cash-for-crash-scam-jailed.html

"He usually picked on elderly female motorists who were driving alone, as he believed they wouldn't cause a fuss."

Anonymous said...

Well, Santa Ana was different in the late 1960's and even the late 1970's it was starting to be a Mexican majority. It was easy to bike, Fountain Valley isn't a bad flatland town but if you have kids make certain you live on the side facing Huntington Beach because the side facing Santa Ana like more old jr high and high school are over 60 percent hispanic and about 3 percent white now.

Anonymous said...

"It seems to be expected that every American adult has access to a car and has the right to drive one. Employers almost always provide free parking -- only to those who drive to work. Put a car in your garage, and the garage square footage isn't taxed, but make that space into living space for human beings, and your property tax goes up. There's a huge highway infrastructure paid for by taxes; not just gas taxes, but also taxes paid for by people who are forbidden from using the highways because of the way they were born.

Is there any race, religion, or ethnicity that is discriminated against in American life quite like the non-driver?"

The car wouldn't be so bad if you really had a legit choice on whether to drive or not, but it's very difficult to live in this country without a car except for a few areas.

I think the bus is the answer for the near future. They generally aren't building too many new houses with large lot anymore. so the suburbs will get more densely populated, which will enable mass transit to come back.

Buses are good because you already have all the roads there and the routes can be changed as demand changes.

Anon87 said...

Steve,

Have you ever seen the film Kenny & Company by Don Coscarelli (Phantasm films)? It certainly seems like a great time capsule of growing up a boy in 1970's California. Watching it recently I was amazed at the attitudes and behaviors. It might as well have been made in the 1870's for how much it has in common with kids of 2013...or adults for that matter.

misty said...

"Employers almost always provide free parking -- only to those who drive to work. Put a car in your garage, and the garage square footage isn't taxed, but make that space into living space for human beings, and your property tax goes up. "

Well, I guess you could get free donuts @ breaks to make up for the lack of a perk due to lack of a car. You may also use that garage of yours any way you want. It's just when you remodel it in certain ways that it gets classified as a living space.

And you're not the only one frustrated by the necessity of having a vehicle just about anywhere you live in this country. While I do a lot of driving, I wouldn't mind some more public transportation, even someone offering private shuttles and taxis in less densely populated neighborhoods would be nice. There are times when I could use transportation to a bus or train or plane yet often live where such isn't readily available. I would also like towns and subdivisions designed so residents could walk to and from businesses easier. Most of us will get to the point where it's no longer a good idea for us to drive either from age-related vision loss or slow reflexes yet not be so far gone we can't live independently otherwise.

You would think we would've addressed this issue already. In fact, right after 9/11 concerns about availability and price of gas spurred the building of a few communities that harkened back to small town america with sidewalks and a central business district intended to encourage walking instead of driving. I seem to remember people dumping their SUVs for smaller cars and hybrids about that time as well. Inexplicably a short while later, Hummers were all over the place and the Land Rover Dealership that folded during the fuel scarcity panic got replaced by a Hum Vee showroom.

So, while we have quite the nanny state for things like nagging potential buzzed drivers, we easily forget issues of an economic and environmental nature that are just as important. Or we spend our time punishing people for having the right to do something because we can't do that thing ourselves.



Matthew said...

"Is there any race, religion, or ethnicity that is discriminated against in American life quite like the non-driver?"

Yes - the drivers who are always getting hit up for rides by the non-drivers.

"Another thing is that younger people (20's and early 30's) don't want backyards anymore. They do not want the chore of mowing and upkeep that comes with them. More and more new developments and are a bunch of houses stacked close together."

Yard upkeep isn't that big of a deal. The real problem is that large lots in decent suburbs can comprise a huge share of the cost of the house. Twenty and thirty-somethings don't mind not having lots when they don't have kids.

"At the other end of life, men traditionally got cheaper pension annuity rates than women, because they die younger. They still die younger, but the rates now have to be the same."

Why don't they mandate that men and women die at the same age?

Matthew said...

"I've known Airmen who lost thousands of dollars for that exact sequence of actions. Get caught driving drunk...worth a five-figure loss by itself."

Oddly enough, when the government wan to find a way to reduce a certain type of crime it finds ways of doing so.

How might this apply to, say, immigration law?

DaveinHackensack said...

Jody,

"anyway, here is the real reason US oil imports are down:

[...]

the reason is that america does less stuff now."


Part of the reason is that we have a domestic oil boom now.

Anonymous said...

Right on, Matthew. I have a friend who trumpets his "green" lack of a car. He whined like a little girl when I told him $4 gas precluded driving 8 miles to pick him up.

Anonymous said...


Is there any race, religion, or ethnicity that is discriminated against in American life quite like the non-driver?


Oh, come on, man. We are sorry you have bad vision and can't drive, and glad you have a good job and the logistics worked out. That is great, but seriously, the world can't revolve around outliers with some specific issue.

FWG said...

""Is there any race, religion, or ethnicity that is discriminated against in American life quite like the non-driver?"

Yes - the drivers who are always getting hit up for rides by the non-drivers.""


You're telling me. As a single guy in my twenties, a number of women I know hit me up for a ride and just expect me to give it to them-and then they want me to buy them dinner too. I tell them "ass, gas, or grass--no one rides for free."

Eric said...

And that's the explanation for the Fermi Paradox: the aliens got Facebook and died out.

That's what I was wondering... are kids having sex any more? Do they have any idea how to interact in person outside a school setting?

Eric said...

I had no interest in getting my license at 16, not being able to afford a car, but my parents thought I would make a wonderful chauffeur for my younger siblings.

Come to think of it, didn't they change the rules so under-18 drivers had to have an adult in the car? Maybe there were more people like my folks than I realized.

Anonymous said...

A graph of teenagers with drivers licenses and the youth employment participation rate would probably be revealing.

Anonymous said...

Around here, you see an interesting, possibly license-related phenomenon. Young black men travel in cars in one of two modes: as the one passenger of a female driver, or the driver is male and so are the three passengers.