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Teen driving is on the rise again

Since about three decades ago, the number of drivers in their teens has been heading down fairly steadily. In the 1980s, well over half of all 17-year-olds had a license to drive a car, while over 40 percent of 16-year-olds also had a license to drive. Now, that number is down to around 50 percent and under 30 percent, respectively.

In the last few years, and contrary to the downward trend that really started to take hold around 2000, the number of teen drivers has started to increase again. People have offered a number of suggestions both for the reason that the number of teen drivers has trailed off and the reason there seems to be a recent reversal in this trend. For instance, teenagers now are much less likely to hold a job than they were in the 1980s and 1990s, back when easily more than half of all teens were working.

No job of course means less spending money to maintain a car and pay the expenses associated with it. Likewise, many teens, well over 35 percent, stated that the reason they had not obtained a license even at the age of 18 or 19 was that they just did not have the time to do so.

Some applaud the fact that fewer teens are driving because they believe it makes the roads in New Mexico and the rest of the country safer. However, there is actually some information suggesting that the real problem with teen driving may be inexperience rather than immaturity. A recent report determined that by age group, young adults between 20 and 34, not teens, are now most likely to be involved in a fatal car crash.

The important thing to remember, though, is that negligent drivers can be held responsible if they cause an accident. Legal options may be available to their victims.

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