Matt Yglesias on the fall in teen driving:
From my perspective growing up in Manhattan, one of the absolute best things about city living is that it provides a way for younger teens to get around without asking mom for a ride, and for older teens to hang out without their parents being terrified that they're going to get themselves killed drunk driving. In general, automobile accidents remain an underrated social and economic problem that have a terrible tendency to cut people down in the prime of life.
My kid loves cars. I won't be buying him one. I did some incredibly stupid things as a young driver. I do think he should know how to drive, and (probably) have a license. But I don't really want him to be a regular teen "driver." Let us stipulate that the world isn't Manhattan. And I imagine there are places where driving at 16 really is a necessary.
One other unrelated point. Not owning a car has reduced my contact with law enforcement. Even in the era of stop and frisk, that's a bonus I'm willing to take.
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