Senior statistics steer with driving trend

Senior statistics steer with driving trend

Surya Hendry and James Peng

Every weekday afternoon, the final bell releases several hundred students. Most of the upperclassmen head straight to their cars, rev up their engines and carefully navigate their way out the parking lot.

Then there’s Hae Choe, a senior who waits everyday for her mom to pick her up.

Choe is one of a growing number of students that isn’t looking to obtain a license immediately after they reach the legal driving age. This trend is prevalent not only at Inglemoor, but also across the nation.

Although driving has long been an intrinsic part of the American coming-of-age experience, fewer teens than ever are getting behind the wheel. According to a study by the University of Michigan, only 60 percent of teenagers aged 17-19 have driver’s licenses, as compared to 80 percent when of the same age group were legally licensed. United States government forecasters don’t understand the causes behind this shift, but Choe knows why she isn’t on the road.

“I don’t really go out much, so there’s no purpose in me getting a car,” Choe said. “It would just stay in my driveway.”

However, according to fellow licenseless senior Kate Arustamian, most seniors don’t think the same way.

“I wish I could drive,” Arustamian said. “It would be nice [to be able to] take my friends out to hang out.”

According to a Nordic poll which interviewed 137 juniors and seniors, around 59 percent of juniors and seniors are licensed, meaning that Inglemoor seems to follow the current national trend. Interestingly, the jump from junior to senior driving rates is also not as steep as expected, going from 53 to 65 percent. However, unlicensed seniors are still at a disadvantage, Choe and Arustamian said.

“If my friends and I were to go somewhere, I’d have to ask my mom,” Choe said. “Having to ask my mom, at this age, is embarrassing.”

Despite the inconveniences of remaining unlicensed, driving rates among students at Inglemoor seem to match the declining national trend. While this may signal a turn in the lifestyle of the American teenager, that doesn’t stop students like Choe and Arustamian from wishing they could drive.

“Driving to school would be nice; that way my parents wouldn’t have to drive me” Arustamian said.

Currently, Choe and Arustamian are looking to solve this problem. Choe recently received her permit, and Arustamian plans to avoid going through the expensive and time-consuming process of driving school by studying driving rules and regulations on her own.

“I’m scared, a little,” Arustamian said. “My parents can’t believe I’m going to drive.”