Why Young People in Chicago Aren’t Getting Their Driver’s Licenses
Chicago, the Windy City, has a large and thriving population. You’ll see many TV shows and movies that take place there. You might visit and admire the city’s cuisine, sports teams, museums, and many other cultural phenomena. This destination gets millions of tourists every year.
However, Chicago sees an astonishing 270 daily car accidents. If you think about that for a moment, it’s incredible. It’s true that it’s a large city, but that many wrecks virtually guarantee serious injuries every day on the Second City’s roadways and in its intersections.
In Chicago, just like elsewhere in the nation, you can get a learner’s permit and a driver’s license at age 16. Should you do it, though? Some Chicago teens have opted out. Let’s take a few moments and talk about why people in Chicago are making this choice.
Car Accidents Frighten Young Potential Drivers
Some Chicago teens can’t wait for a driver’s license, and they take the test as soon as they can. Like most teens who want a license when they reach the appropriate age, they like the independence it provides, at least in theory. They may find that having a license isn’t the Golden Ticket to get away from their parents that they imagine, but they at least want to move forward and take this step toward growing up.
However, just as many Chicago teens wait and don’t get their license once they hit the appropriate age. If you ask many of them about that, they might tell you that driving in the city frightens them. Maybe they’ve seen horrific car wrecks in and around Chicago. If they see accidents with injuries or fatalities, perhaps they feel they’re not ready yet.
These teens might mention anxiety when you ask them about whether they want their license. Only the boldest among them feel they should brave the potential dangers. Plenty of others decide they’ll put it off or won’t pursue a driver’s license at all.
Parking in Chicago Isn’t Easy
Other times, if you ask Chicago teens why they’re not eagerly pursuing their licenses, they might say that parking in the city isn’t easy or cheap. Let’s say a teen gets their license, and they have a parent who lets them borrow a vehicle. Maybe their parents even buy the teen their own car if they can afford it and the parents trust them enough.
In that situation, perhaps the teen drives around Chicago. They might take the car when they leave in the morning on a school day. Once they reach their school, though, they must find parking.
Some Chicago-area schools have student parking, but not very much. The lots fill up quickly, and the teen drivers must find street parking. There’s usually not very much of it. Even if they find a space, they might try parallel parking in a tiny spot and feel frustrated when they can’t easily do it.
Street parking also usually costs money, and that’s an added irritation. These reasons might convince teens to wait and not get their licenses immediately. Their parents typically have no issue with them waiting.
There’s Abundant Public Transportation
There’s another factor that convinces some Chicago teens they should wait and not get their licenses the moment they legally can. In Chicago, they have public transportation options all around them.
Chicago has plenty of trains and buses, and teens who grow up there usually learn about the routes when they’re young. They figure out what trains and buses they can catch in their neighborhood, and they become veritable public transportation experts.
If a Chicago teen knows that they can use a train or bus and attend school that way, and they can use the same route in the afternoon on the way home, they don’t really need cars. Some may want one, but a parent might dissuade them.
Growing up as a Chicago teen isn’t like growing up with no public transportation options. It’s much like New York and other major cities that way. Teens growing up with no buses or trains around them need their driver’s licenses faster, but that’s not the case in big cities.
Many Teens Can’t Afford Their Own Vehicles
Some Chicago teenagers don’t get their driver’s licenses because they know that even if they get one, they can’t afford their own cars. Some may have part-time jobs, but most don’t. They have little money of their own, and they probably can’t buy a car with savings from an allowance their parents might give them.
If a Chicago teen knows they can’t buy a car and they can only borrow one a parent owns every once in a while, they may feel they don’t need a license yet. When they’re a little older, they may want a vehicle more, and they can get a job to make that happen.
They Can Get a License Later
Also, some Chicago teens realize they can get a driver’s license at any time. They may want one and know it will come in handy throughout their lives, but they’re not first in line at driving school when they turn 16.
The reasons we mentioned usually come into play. These teens know that living in Chicago puts them in a position where they don’t need a car every day. They can get around using public transportation, and things like finding parking irritate them.
In short, many Chicago teens still get their licenses. The ones that don’t get them immediately once they legally can may still take the test and pass it, just not the moment they celebrate their sixteenth birthday.
The parents mostly don’t take issue with this. They understand that raising kids in a big city looks and feels different than doing it in a rural area where getting a driver’s license immediately makes sense.
Getting a driver’s license can feel like a major step in one’s growth, but some Chicago kids feel fine waiting and pushing back this notable milestone.