Most people can remember the feeling of anticipation before obtaining a license. The feeling of wanting the freedom to drive yourself places without having to inconvenience your parents, or worse, have them come with you. In the past, teens jumped on the opportunity to get their license the moment they were eligible. However, this isn’t the case anymore.
Many students are waiting longer and longer to obtain their license. Students give many different reasons for this, including the expense and time commitment.
Taking a driver’s ed course costs quite a bit of money. While course costs can vary, a course that a lot of local students use, The Link Driving School, costs $480 for 30 hours of online or classroom training as well as six hours of behind-the-wheel training. There’s also the price of a car and insurance that students have to consider. All of these costs add up very quickly, and some high schoolers decided the amount of money they would be spending on it isn’t worth it.
“I don’t currently have a car, so I don’t see a point in getting my license until I get a car,” said Lincoln High School senior Delilah Rains.
This is common among students. Many don’t own a car and don’t feel it necessary to get their license until they can obtain one.
Driver’s ed also takes a lot of time to complete. Students in Indiana have to complete 30 hours of classroom or online training and six hours of driving practice with a professional instructor to obtain their permit. Students must also pass a permit test. They then must drive and log 50 hours of supervised driving practice and complete a test to obtain their license. A lot of high school students have obligations such as sports or work that prevent them from being able to put their time into getting their license.
Students have also claimed that they are able to do everything they need to without a license. Many carpool with friends or get a ride from their parents.
“My friends and parents drive me places,” Rains said.
While it’s becoming increasingly more popular to wait to obtain a license, some students don’t agree with this logic. There are still quite a few high schoolers who wanted to get their license right away. A lot of students looked forward to the freedom that came with being able to drive themselves around.
“I got my license as soon as I could,” says Mia Cupp, also a senior from Lincoln High School. “I mostly looked forward to having more freedom and being able to go anywhere I could without having to rely on others for rides.”
Another reason students may want to get their license quickly is because they don’t have someone who is able to drive them around. Many high schoolers participate in sports, clubs or other after school activities that require a ride. As some students aren’t always able to get a ride with their parents or friends, having their license is a much more convenient method of transportation for them.
“For me, I think that it would be very difficult to get around without a license when involved with extracurricular activities and having a job,” says Cupp. “I think I could rely on friends and family members with their licenses, but once it comes time to go to college it would be even harder and become a problem not being able to go certain places or come home whenever I wanted.”
Reagan Sturgis is a student intern at the Western Wayne News.
A version of this article appeared in the December 20 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.