It's traditionally the first big birthday for most Americans. Turning "Sweet 16" usually means one thing for teens: it's time to get behind the wheel.
But these days a funny thing is happening at the DMV: a AAA study says 16 year olds aren't showing up.
In fact, the study says less than half of American teens are getting their license within 12 months of the minimum age for licensing.
The experts have an idea why.
"Gas prices are high, the cost of automobiles are somewhat expensive," said John Pecchio of AAA.
But that's not the whole story.
Years ago to connect with their friends teens had to see them in person which meant driving to a destination, that's not the case anymore.
"In today's environment there's the internet, there's social media. Teenagers can stay connected through those platforms," said Pecchio.
Some kids say that's certainly a factor.
"I think we're just all consumed with our phones and our social lives we don't have the time to get out and go," said 14-year-old Brooke Brown.
But they also say there's another reason the study just didn't consider.
"I just think a lot of teenagers now are kinda like lazy and don't feel like getting up and doing it," Brown said.
"We have the advantage of just like lay around instead of doing something," said 14-year-old Morgan Bishop.
Hunter Brown says he couldn't wait to get his permit when he turned 15.
So what did he do after his 15th birthday? He waited.
"I felt that way the week before and then the day of, I'm like 'I'll do it tomorrow' and then three months later I finally did it," said Hunter Brown. "I procrastinated a lot, I guess just plain laziness."
AAA says this trend can be dangerous. They say younger drivers get valuable experience and are restricted from driving at certain hours and at times are not allowed to operate a vehicle without an adult in the car.
If teens wait until they're 18 to get their license, they aren't bound by those restrictions.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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