American Teenagers Are Driving Less
American teenagers are driving less than ever before. Surveys of American youngsters show that young people in America prefer to spend their time online, chatting with their friends or playing games on the Internet rather than cruising around in their cars. The car as a status symbol is not as important for them as it used to be.
For generations cars have been a symbol of freedom and America’s most important pastime. You had to have a car at an early age if you wanted to be cool. Today, many teenagers have to choose between getting a car or buying the latest smartphone or tablet. As gas prices are increasing car driving is becoming more expensive. For almost half of the generation between 18 and 26 having good Internet access is more important than owning a car. Young adults of today don’t meet their friends in person but via Facebook. There they can chat, exchange photos and play games together.
Cruising around in the 50s
The golden age of the 50s and 60s, in which teenagers drove around just for the fun of it, are gone. In those days a shiny new car was something to boast about, it showed who you were. Among the baby boomers of the post-World War II era 85% wanted their own car. In 1978 about half of all 16 year olds got their driving license as soon as they had reached that age. In 2010 the figure dropped to only 30%.
Today driving is not as much fun as it was in the 50s and 60s when there was not so much traffic and you didn't have to pay so much attention on the roads. In the golden age cars were everything young people had so they just got into them and drove off as soon as they got home from school.
Another reason for the decrease in teenage driving may be stricter driving tests and the fact that 16 year olds must be accompanied by licensed drivers over 21.
But not only teenagers have been driving less. A study shows that Americans of all ages have cut down car use, mostly because gas prices have been going up since 2007. America, however, remains a country of automobiles. It has more cars per capita than any other country in the world . And because it is such a vast country cars are often the only way to get to remote areas.
- access = connection
- accompany = to go with someone
- baby boomer = person born between the end of World War II and the middle of the 1960s
- boast = show off; to talk proudly about
- cruise = drive around, without really knowing where you want to go
- cut down = reduce
- decrease = to go down
- driving license = document or card that says you are allowed to drive
- drop = go down
- figure = number
- freedom = being free
- gas = petrol; the fuel that powers your car
- however = but
- increase = go up
- licensed driver = a person who already has a driving license
- own = to have or possess something
- pastime = something that you do because you like it and think it is interesting; hobby
- pay attention = be careful
- per capita = for one person
- reach = get to
- remain = stay
- remote = faraway
- shiny = smooth and bright
- smartphone = mobile phone that works like a computer
- status symbol = something that you have and that shows you have a high position
- strict = hard, difficult to pass
- study = a piece of work that is done to find out more about a topic
- survey = questions that you ask many people in order to find out their opinions
- tablet = small computer without a keyboard
- traffic = the cars, buses etc… that move down a street or road
- vast = very big
- via = through
- youngster = a young person