While a driver’s license was once considered a rite of passage into adulthood, fewer young drivers consider it necessary. The reasons for the decline in licensed drivers under 30 are varied but include the increased role of digital media in daily activities and concern for the environmental impact of automobiles.

Electronic social networking, better mass transit, options like Zipcar, online shopping and the economy may all contribute to fewer young drivers on the road. Whether the shift is permanent and what the long-term implications may be are not completely clear.