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Data Shows Gen-Z Has Little Interest in Driver’s Licenses

In the past, getting a driver’s license was a big deal for teenagers. It meant freedom and the ability to go places without needing your parents to drive you. But things are changing. Many teenagers today, especially those in Generation Z (people born from 1997 to 2012), are not rushing to get their driver’s license like their parents or older siblings did.

What Percentage of Gen-Z Have Their Driver’s License?

Recent data shows that fewer 16-year-olds are getting their driver’s licenses. In 2022, only 25.6% of 16-year-olds had a driver’s license. This is a big drop from 2000 when about 43.1% of 16-year-olds had their licenses.

For 17-year-olds, about 45.5% had a driver’s license in 2022, down from 62.6% in 2000. Even 18-year-olds are getting their licenses less, with 60.3% having one in 2022 compared to 80.4% in 2000.

You can see by the chart, there is a clear trendline showing fewer and fewer teens getting their driver’s licenses while the total number of licenses has gone up.

These charts were created using data from the Department of Transportation. You can see the full data by visiting this page.

Why Are Fewer Gen-Z Teens Getting Their Licenses?

There are several reasons why fewer teens are getting their driver’s licenses:

Driving Anxiety: Some teens might feel nervous about driving and prefer to wait until they feel more comfortable.

Public Transportation and Ride-Sharing: In many cities, teens can use public transportation or ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft to get around. This makes having a car less necessary.

Environmental Concerns: Some teens are more aware of the environment and prefer not to drive because cars contribute to pollution.

Cost: Driving can be expensive. Teens might not want to pay for gas, insurance, and car maintenance. The cost of used vehicles is higher than it has been historically, and gasoline is pretty expensive too.

Simply put, teens just don’t see enough of a reason to get their driver’s license. On TikTok and other social media platforms, some teens have even called driving “cringe” and show zero interest in participating.

What This Means for the Future

The trend of fewer teens getting their driver’s licenses could continue. This might lead to changes in how cities plan their transportation systems, possibly focusing more on public transportation and bike lanes. Car manufacturers might also change their strategies, maybe focusing more on electric and autonomous vehicles.


While getting a driver’s license was once a rite of passage for many teenagers, Generation Z is showing that times are changing. With more options for getting around and different priorities, fewer teens are rushing to get behind the wheel. This trend is reshaping how we think about transportation and the future of driving. Perhaps Gen Z has the foresight that self-driving cars are right around the corner, and see driving as a useless skill for them to learn.