Ask The Best And Brightest: Driving At Age 16?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
ask the best and brightest driving at age 16

Fewer 16-year-olds are registering for driver’s licenses in Illinois, according to Chicago Breaking News… but why?

[In 2006] Illinois lawmakers doubled the number of hours — to 50 from 25 — of adult-supervised driving required before a driver with a learner’s permit could get a license. The next year, the number of 16-year-olds with licenses dropped by nearly 5 percent — to 74,675 from 78,250 — even though the state’s teen population increased.

Then, on Jan. 1, 2008, Illinois imposed a sweeping overhaul of teen driving laws, the heart of which tripled the length of time — to 9 months from 3 months — a teen driver must possess a learner’s permit before acquiring a license. That year, the number of 16-year-olds with licenses dropped again, this time by 17 percent, to 61,862.

The decrease is continuing. The Illinois secretary of state’s office estimates that fewer than 60,000 driver’s licenses were issued to 16-year-olds in 2009.

The usual economy and internet-based explanations are trotted out, but it seems that mandating supervised driving hours keeps kids out of cars. And though that’s good news for Illinois drivers, it’s certainly not a trend that the auto industry wants to see followed. After all, safety is a box on an option list, not something that reduces demand for cars, right? On the other hand, just because kids aren’t registering for driver’s licenses, doesn’t mean they’re not driving. Should we do away with mandatory supervision to drive the market for cars, or should supervised hours or a more thorough form of mandatory training be instituted? Or, should the legal driving age simply be moved up to 18? Better yet, forget the politics: do you let your 16 year-old drive, and if so how do you prepare them?

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  • Domestic Hearse Domestic Hearse on Jun 24, 2010

    One last observation on why kids aren't getting their licenses in Illinois... Don't know about your state, but this one is suffering an almost 40% budget shortfall this year. We're billions and billions and billions in the hole. We're pink slipping teachers faster than we indict governors. And which teachers, do you suppose, are shown the door? Phys Ed, music, art, drama and of course, drivers ed. (And first-year teachers, no matter what subject they teach). That means (and has meant, for the last several years) that Junior has to wait till his junior (sometimes senior) year before he can get into a DE class at his school (if it's offered at all). So if he wants that learners permit at 16, Mom and Dad gotta puke up the money for private DE instruction. Or Junior's gotta mow a lot more lawns and pay for it himself. Yeah. Like that's gonna happen. Sure, there's plenty of parents with the bank to buy their kid private instruction. And still a few kids who still think cars are cool. These kids still find a way to get behind the wheel. But the times, they are a'changin'.

  • Jeremy5000 Jeremy5000 on Jun 24, 2010

    I'm 22 and live in Quebec, Canada. The rules about getting a driving permit are fairly strict compared to most US states it seems. In order for anyone to get a full permit you must hold a learner's permit for a year. During that time you must drive with a licensed adult. After you must hold a probationary permit for another year, and you may only collect a total of 4 demerit points (the full number is 15). When I got my permit driving school was not mandatory, however it is now, and I believe is more than 50 hours. There are still a lot of people on the road that don't look like they should be however, young and old.

  • Dusterdude The "fire them all" is looking a little less unreasonable the longer the union sticks to the totally ridiculous demands ( or maybe the members should fire theit leadership ! )
  • Thehyundaigarage Yes, Canadian market vehicles have had immobilizers mandated by transport Canada since around 2001.In the US market, some key start Toyotas and Nissans still don’t have immobilizers. The US doesn’t mandate immobilizers or daytime running lights, but they mandate TPMS, yet canada mandates both, but couldn’t care less about TPMS. You’d think we’d have universal standards in North America.
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  • Lorenzo I'll go with Stellantis. Last into the folly, first to bail out. Their European business won't fly with the German market being squeezed on electricity. Anybody can see the loss of Russian natural gas and closing their nuclear plants means high cost electricity. They're now buying electrons from French nuclear plants, as are the British after shutting down their coal industry. As for the American market, the American grid isn't in great shape either, but the US has shale oil and natural gas. Stellantis has profits from ICE Ram trucks and Jeeps, and they won't give that up.
  • Inside Looking Out Chinese will take over EV market and Tesla will become the richest and largest car company in the world. Forget about Japanese.