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  (Source: 20th Century Fox)
The Internet provides the social interaction teenagers once found in car ownership

Turning 16 has typically been associated with obtaining a driver's license and achieving a certain freedom and status that comes with having a car in high school. But in recent years, American teenagers have started ditching cars for a newer, cheaper form of social entertainment: the internet.

According to a survey by information technology research and advisory firm Gartner, 46 percent of adults ages 18 to 24 said they would prefer having internet access over a car. Only 15 percent of baby boomers from the 1950's and 1960's answered the same.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation found that 50 percent of 16-year-olds had acquired their driver's license in 1978. In 2008, this number dropped to 30 percent. Also, the number of individuals aged 19 and under with a driver's license has decreased over time since 1978. In 1978, there were 11,989,000 drivers aged 19 and under while this number dropped steadily to 9,932,441 in 2010. 

Today, cars don't seem to measure up to what the internet can offer in the eyes of teens. Teens can simply jump on a computer or mobile device and connect with friends via social networking, games, or chat.

Wally Neil, a 25-year-old from Raleigh, North Carolina, was an example of a young adult who chose the Internet over obtaining a driver's license. He ended up receiving a license two years ago at the age of 23, but said gaming and the internet sufficed up until that point.

The internet is likely only one reason for the decreased number of U.S. teen drivers. Back in 2007, gas prices took a giant leap to $4.00 and higher per gallon, which made cruising around in a vehicle a much less attractive activity. Gas prices still linger in the $3 to $4 range.

Source: BBC News





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