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Fewer 16-Year-Old Drivers Hitting California's Roads Than Just 15 Years Ago

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Teenagers aren't taking to the roads like they used to.

Once upon a time, beginning driver courses used to be packed, topping out at forty students and still turning people away. On one particular day at the Bay Area Driver's School, there are seven.

"It used to be that 16-year-olds couldn't wait. Now, not a sense of urgency," Bay Area Driving School Manager Erika Viyera said.

The state's numbers show it. There are 25,000 fewer 16-year-old drivers now, than there were 15 years ago.

The greatest reduction was among boys. Driving student James Fisher isn't one of those, but he has an idea why his peers aren't quite as eager as he is.

"I think the biggest reason is that our generation is more prone to procrastinate. There are a lot of distractions," Fisher said.

The trend could be part of the millennial mindset - why drive to a friend's house when you can see what they're doing on Facebook, or just text them? But, the delay of young drivers doesn't just affect the lines at the DMV, it's also creating a hazard on our roadways.

"There's a higher crash rate. So, 18- and 19-year-old drivers are actually less safe than the 16- and 17-year-old ones," Vivera said.

That's why 15-year-old Fisher is studying up now.

"It's a new experience. You feel like you're growing up a little bit more," Fisher said.


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