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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 02-25-08, 05:01 PM   #1
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Fewer Youths Jump Behind the Wheel at 16

nytimes article

Talks about how less kids are getting their license at the age of 16. Mostly because of insurance and schools no longer providing in-school driver's ed. Also nice to learn that some states have a curfew for young drivers and some, like NJ, have even increased the age at which you can get a license.

I was hoping for a little quip about bicycles in the article, but at least it mentions some car pooling as a result.
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Old 02-25-08, 05:33 PM   #2
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Yep, the times are changing. It is a big responsibility to drive, and IMO a number of kids today just don't have that responsiblity (look any crash statistics for this age group). I couldn't wait to get my license, and when I was 16 I thought graduated drivers laws were stupid; but once past that time of life, I've come to believe that it makes sense.

My only fear is pushing the age back too far. What happens when kids go off to college where the booze is even easier to get, and there is even less parental (or at least older) advice? Plus, I have to wonder if necessary skills will get honed enough w/o a seasoned driver around. But it will probably still be safer still than handing out licenses to 16 year olds.
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Old 02-25-08, 05:41 PM   #3
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Their moms are still driving them everywhere....

Which I think would still be like, totally uncool.

But probably not as totally uncool as riding a bike.
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Old 02-25-08, 05:54 PM   #4
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Since they no longer have driver's education in most high schools, maybe they should have "carfree ed" instead. Maybe just a short course to teach how to use the bus system and read a map.

And of course some good carfree propaganda! Get 'em while they're young and impressionable....
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Old 02-25-08, 05:54 PM   #5
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I have long contended that they needed to lower the drinking age to 16 and raise the driving age to 21 FWIW I started operating farm equipment when I was 12 years old, and was regularly driving the farm trucks at 14. But I also knew that if I screwed up it would cost me big time. I sometimes think that too many kids today are over privileged in what they are allowed to do. I know when I got my license it was only on the rare occasion that I was allowed to use the ONE car our family owned. I was 19 before I saved up enough money to buy and pay for my own car.

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Old 02-25-08, 06:20 PM   #6
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Wahoonc, I've wondered the same thing too--lower the drinking age, raise the driving age. I suspect we've lived too long with the drinking age where it is at though--it's a decently sized responsibility like other things. I think our "prudish" attitude towards drinking has somewhat encouraged the thought that it's "bad", "bad" as in "it's what the cool kids do".
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Old 02-25-08, 06:20 PM   #7
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The trend in smaller cities now is to build the high schools out in the country where the land is cheaper. Here in Traverse City the new HS is at least 3 miles outside the developed area. This practically forces kids to drive or be driven to school. They had to widen roads to handle the traffic, and now new housing and commercial development is going up around the high school--another Sprawlsville.
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Old 02-25-08, 06:35 PM   #8
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Wahoonc, I've wondered the same thing too--lower the drinking age, raise the driving age. I suspect we've lived too long with the drinking age where it is at though--it's a decently sized responsibility like other things. I think our "prudish" attitude towards drinking has somewhat encouraged the thought that it's "bad", "bad" as in "it's what the cool kids do".
What is really unfortunate IMHO is that if I wish to give my children a sip of wine or allow them sample beer in my own home, I can be charged with child endangerment Now how else are we SUPPOSED to teach moderation? Kids learn from seeing or doing not by telling.

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Old 02-25-08, 06:38 PM   #9
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The trend in smaller cities now is to build the high schools out in the country where the land is cheaper. Here in Traverse City the new HS is at least 3 miles outside the developed area. This practically forces kids to drive or be driven to school. They had to widen roads to handle the traffic, and now new housing and commercial development is going up around the high school--another Sprawlsville.
Roody,
It is everywhere! They put in a middle school, high school and now another elementary school (that makes three elementary in a 8 mile radius) All of these schools are on narrow high speed two lane roads and now the sprawling begins. I cycle the road that the HS is on, from my house to the grocery store. There is NO WAY IN HELL that I will ride (and prefer not to drive) on that road when school is letting out. It is going to get even worse when all the mommys start shuttling their kids to the elementary school because the buses are soooo dangerous.

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Old 02-25-08, 06:40 PM   #10
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Growing up, I was always told it was legal--as long as you're the legal guardian, that is. Presumably not if you're letting your kid get smashed or anything. But that could be heresay for I know--I haven't read up on it. It'd be real shame though if you're right. Personally, I think kids should learn how to drive, and how to drink (not at the same time of course) by their parents. Perhaps when they are 14 or so. That way, the mystery is solved for the kids--it's not some huge thing anymore.
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Old 02-25-08, 06:50 PM   #11
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I also liked how one mother in the article said she thought it just wasn't safe for young people to drive any more. Think about biking in those conditions!
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Old 02-25-08, 07:21 PM   #12
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I am 16, and in Ontario you can get your G1 (granting the ability to drive with an accompanying adult) on your birthday (which I did) and then you have to wait a year to get your G2 (which is pretty much a full license), or if you take driving lessons (which is expensive, but I did anyhow) the time is reduced to 8 months. Most kids around here don't get driving until they are 17.

I think kids should only be able to drive if they buy the car for themselves, and pay the insurance after it goes up because of speeding. I go to a school in a pretty well off neighborhood and alot of the kids at my school have cars which are simply too quick for any driver. What do you expect them to do with a 200hp+ Audi when they aren't the ones maintaining or paying for any of it? Show off! Of course! I am the only guy in my grade who owns his own car (despite the fact my parents offered me wheels). I feel that as a result I am a more responsible driver, besides that I couldn't afford anything quicker than my 1989 Volvo 240. To slow things down even more it was missing its fifth gear when I got it (which I'm too cheap to replace because I would have to work almost 74 hours to get the money together) - and is therefore automatically limited to 90 km/h! I'm a firm believer that driving is a privilege but I don't think it should be totally age discriminatory- if you're mature enough to earn the money and find the car you should be mature enough to know the consequence of your actions. Besides, people are just impressed with my clunker as they are the next guy's Cadillac or Lexus simply because they know I bought it!

I feel well deserved of my freedom, and am definitely against raising the driving age. I don't live within' biking distance of anything (not to mention it's icy and -25 degrees C outside right now) and as the environmentally aware cyclists should note, having your parents drive you everywhere often requires twice as much fuel because they have to drive me (or whoever) to the destination, and then home again. Repeat that for pickup. (not to mention my parents have other things to do!).

As a closing, I would like to state that this isn't a 'pro-motoring' post. If anything, giving teens automotive independence will in most cases take more cars off the road because their parents aren't driving them everywhere! Also, when teens are made to pay for their own gas they are far more aware of their driving habits- I keep a bike in town so that I can bike to do my errands and save on fuel, when most adults with steadier, higher paying jobs (and more ingrained driving habits after years of cheap fuel) aren't even thinking that way. I hate to say it, but if you target the teens pocketbook (which advertisers are doing all the time!) you can certainly get to their heads.
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Old 02-25-08, 07:30 PM   #13
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Drivers' Licenses ought to be done more like Pilots' Licenses; A pilot isn't allowed to fly by his/her self until they've flown a significant number of hours with a more experienced pilot at their side.
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Old 02-25-08, 07:36 PM   #14
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Since they no longer have driver's education in most high schools, maybe they should have "carfree ed" instead. Maybe just a short course to teach how to use the bus system and read a map.

And of course some good carfree propaganda! Get 'em while they're young and impressionable....
You just described about half of my career goals.
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Old 02-25-08, 07:44 PM   #15
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Drivers' Licenses ought to be done more like Pilots' Licenses; A pilot isn't allowed to fly by his/her self until they've flown a significant number of hours with a more experienced pilot at their side.
Now that is an interesting statement...ever checked into flight schools? Most of the instructors are recent graduates getting their hours in waiting for a chance to apply for a "real" job flying.

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Old 02-25-08, 08:14 PM   #16
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I also liked how one mother in the article said she thought it just wasn't safe for young people to drive any more.
Modern kids MUST be completely protected from ALL danger. In my day, they thought nothing about putting kids through a nuclear war. After that, any other troubles were trivial.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:21 PM   #17
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Modern kids MUST be completely protected from ALL danger. In my day, they thought nothing about putting kids through a nuclear war. After that, any other troubles were trivial.
Not true! They taught Duck and Cover!
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Old 02-25-08, 08:48 PM   #18
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Not true! They taught Duck and Cover!
But Artkansas is right--they were certainly ready, willing and able to put us through atomic annihilation. Is it any wonder that our generation went through an angry adolescence in the 60s? It wasn't all Pot and the Pill, you know.
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Old 02-25-08, 08:51 PM   #19
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I think the irony I intended was lost without an emoticon or two.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:17 PM   #20
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I think it's silly that the higher age requirement assumes that grownups somehow drive better.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:36 PM   #21
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I think it's silly that the higher age requirement assumes that grownups somehow drive better.
They used to think it was a matter of experience, but I've read about recent studies showing lack of development in adolescent brains, in areas of the brain that are involved in perception and judgment needed for driving.
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Old 02-25-08, 11:50 PM   #22
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Here's an idea: Eliminate student parking at highs schools. No doubt overcrowded schools could use the land for other things - like classrooms, perhaps.

Or have very small student lots and reserve the spaces for students with straight A averages.

Don't underestimate the impact of student parking. When I got my license, it meant absolutely nothing without being able to drive a car to school.
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Old 02-26-08, 12:03 AM   #23
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They used to think it was a matter of experience, but I've read about recent studies showing lack of development in adolescent brains, in areas of the brain that are involved in perception and judgment needed for driving.
That's not really an excuse for the poor driving skills regularly exhibited in my neighborhood. I'm surprised if I ever see a teenager behind the wheel.
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Old 02-26-08, 04:29 AM   #24
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As far as poor driving skills in others besides teenagers...blame it on the lack of proper education and enforcement. Compared to many of the European countries driver's education in the US is a joke. IIRC we had about 20 hours of classroom and 10 hours or so of behind the wheel and were turned loose. It should be at least 5 times that along with practical experience on a skid pad and track. Also IIRC at one time in France I believe, younger drivers were limited as to how powerful a car they could drive. Hard to get into much trouble with a 2CV Citroen

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Old 02-26-08, 01:44 PM   #25
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Or have very small student lots and reserve the spaces for students with straight A averages.
Yes, the very smartest students will be car-free and sublet their spaces to the dummies.

Count me as one of those crazies who thinks that 16 to drink and 21 to drive is a good idea.
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