Younger drivers ditching their cars have automakers worried

Tonight's assignment: find people to talk about why they don't have a driver's license. That's the trend, particularly in the Millennial generation.

In 1983, nearly half of all 16-year-olds had a license. By 2014, only about a quarter of 16 year olds bothered.
The fact is, I didn't need to go much further than my house, since my son tells me, he's "too busy" to study for a learner's permit. He's nearly 18-years-old.

He's not alone. I spent my Friday night, chauffeuring three HS seniors to their winter formal. None drives. There's good reason. Insuring a teen driver can double auto insurance payments. I know plenty of parents, myself included, who just can't stomach that kind of strain on the budget.

I couldn't interview my son. So, where do you find young people to interview on this trend? Photographer Kevin and I decided on the North Hollywood Metro station where a steady stream of people emerged from the subway. Some headed for the parking lot to their cars, but far more went to catch a bus or another leg of the Metro.

I spotted a teenager with magenta dyed hair and bingo. 18 year old Bethany doesn't drive and feels no real need. "I like to take the bus. I like seeing how the area has changed." She admitted to me her younger brother just got his provisional license, but she's decided to wait until she could actually afford the car of her choice.

As easy as it was for us to find Bethany, I kept striking out finding any others. One guy in his early 20's said the reason he didn't have a license was when he was 15 and 16, he kept getting caught driving WITHOUT a license. Ummm that's kind of hard to include in a story about driving trends. So.. I approached more people.

"Do you have a driver's license?" I asked over and over. Apparently, plenty of people coming off the Metro have licenses, they just prefer not to drive; particularly on a misty day. 22 year old Carlos Juarez told me he waited until after he graduated high school before he took the time out of his busy schedule to get his license.

He doesn't need to drive, since he works so close to his North Hollywood home and said, he often prefers mass transit because he feels its safer than driving himself.

18-year-old Mytrell Washington told me, there are plenty of things he'd rather do than stand in line at the DMV, besides, the teen from Compton says, there's no real need now that there's ride sharing. "If you don't have a license that's the best thing to do .. Uber."

This is a trend already recognized by automakers. Even though, auto sales were up in 2015, companies like GM see a time when a new car won't have the cache it once had. This month, GM paid $500 million for Lyft and also acquired the remnants of the now defunct ride sharing company Sidecar.

If you can't envision a time when a car won't be an extension of your image; just try to picture this.
Hyperloop broke ground for it's first test track in November. Ultimately, I've been told, there will be driverless cars we hail to take us to the Hyperloop station. A trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco would take half an hour.
Licenses? We don't need no stinking licenses.

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