Smart phone technology and social networking has been linked to Scottish youngsters deciding not to get a driving license. Transport experts are convinced that the popularity of phone and internet communication is making it less important for young adults to travel and meet up with friends in person.
The official stats show that there are less than a third of people aged under 21 in Scotland that actually have a driving licence when compared with figures from 1992. The number of people in their twenties who drive has also reduced from three quarters to just over a half in the same twenty year period. However older drivers are on the increase, with 51% of over 75’s holding a driving licence. Experts feel the advances in technology, the cost of motor insurance and inflated fuel prices are the main reasons young people are being put off buying a car.
Phil Goodwin a professor of transport at University College London said “Car ownership is no longer seen as a rite of passage into adulthood. Surveys of young people suggest the most important reason for not getting a driving license is the cost of learning, insurance and running a car. But significant numbers also say they have other methods of transport available or simply that they are just not interested. Many young people are much more interested in what sort of mobile phone to get than cars and their social life using networks, texting, music, online shopping, games and e-books is actually much more compatible with public transport use than driving a car.”
Social networking has become a substitute for a certain amount of motor travel and public transport is more conducive to being able to stay well connected to these networks while on the move. Importantly there is a ban on mobile phone use while driving. Technology is removing the need for travel, and young people now regard owning an iPhone as being cooler than having a car.