Spinning our Wheels

Spinning our Wheels is a commuting blog about the challenges of getting around Atlanta by car, bus, MARTA, bicycles and on foot written by transportation reporter David Wickert

Fewer people obtaining a drivers license


The allure of driving isn't quite as powerful as it used to be, and not just for millennials who are notoriously ambivalent about cars.

According to a recent study, the proportion of people obtaining a driver's license is falling across all age groups.

A study published in January by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute examined changes in the percentage of people with a driver’s license in the United States from 1983 to 2014. The data came from the Federal Highway Administration.

The three main findings by researchers Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle are:

  • For 16- through 44-year-olds, there was a continuous decrease in the percentage who had a driver’s license. For example, the percentages for 20- to 24-year-olds in 1983, 2008, 2011, and 2014 were 91.8 percent, 82 percent, 79.7 percent, and 76.7 percent, respectively.

  • For 45- through 69-year-olds, the percentage of people with a driver’s license increased between 1983 and 2008, followed by a continuous decrease from

    2008 to 2014. For example, the percentages for 60- to 64-year-olds in 1983, 2008,

    2011, and 2014 were 83.8 percent, 95.9 percent, 92.7 percent, and 92.1 percent, respectively.

  • For those 70 years and older, there was an increase in the percentage of people

    with a driver’s license from 1983 to 2011, and a decrease from 2011 to 2014. The percentages for 1983, 2008, 2011, and 2014 were 55 percent, 78.4 percent, 79.2 percent, and 79 percent, respectively.


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