January 28, 2018

What is wrong with young people nowadays?

Where to start, you’re probably thinking! But one of the wrongest things about the youth of today is surely their wrong-headed spurning of technology’s greatest ever gift to mankind, the private motor vehicle.

New data from the Department for Transport (D4T) suggests that the percentage of 17-20 year olds holding driving licences has fallen from from a peak of around 50% in 1992 to just 29% today.

Among 21-29 year olds, the equivalent figures have dropped from around 75% to just 63%.

And it’s not just fewer people driving; they’re also driving fewer miles. The decade from 1997 saw a fall of around 35% in the number of car journeys per person.

The later people start driving, experts fear, the less driving they’re likely to do once they do start.

Is this once-great nation somehow losing ‘the will to drive’? Or is it simply that, in an era of declining disposable income and rising costs associated with driving (sky-high insurance premiums being a key deterrent where youngsters are concerned), we simply can’t afford it any more?

Whatever the reasons, we simply cannot tolerate this worrying trend. Otherwise, other nations will point at de-motorised Brits and mock us with taunts like: “Ha, ha, you very sad and pitiful British people, where are your cars? You are really loving the public transport, isn’t it!”

Part of the problem could be that young Britons are spending too much time at home – perhaps because social media removes the need to actually participate IRL. Young men today spend 80 minutes more at home than their peers did in 1995, young women 40 minutes longer (according to D4T).

Another possibility is that driving simulation games like Grand Theft Otter, Dirt, and Reliant Rampage are more fun that the real thing (and don’t require leaving the house).

It’s no good asking D4T for answers. You’ll simply get some guff about “Closely tied to the changes in young people’s socio-economic and living situations are changes in when people start a family, their social interactions, and the importance people attach to driving. With the current evidence base it is not possible to quantify the importance of each of these factors or to say the order in which they began to exert an influence.”

Hopes that rising incomes among millennials – as Britain emerged from a decade of post-downturn austerity – might help turn this tide of motor vehicle desertion have recently been put in doubt by stubbornly stagnating wages and ‘uncertainties’ around Britain’s departure from the EU.

Some experts now believe that getting young people back behind the wheel could require forcing them to live outside major conurbations or rationing their access to public transport.

Anything’s worth a try, we say here at Bankstone News.

If young people lose interest in the whole car thing now, there’ll be no-one left to not drive the driverless cars of the future.

Or perhaps they’re all just practicing not driving, so as to be ready to embrace DLCs with both arms.

Who knows? Certainly not Bankstone News.


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