RENO, NV - If you're a parent of a teenager, you may have noticed something strange. Teens are showing a little less interest in getting their driver's licenses. Its not just your kid, or his or her friends; its a national trend.
16-year-old Sean Harris was at the DMV to get his driver's license Monday. He says it's taken him about a year to get here.
He's taken a written test and has put in the mandatory 50hours of driving with an adult, 10 of those hours driving at night.
He says the piece of plastic is important to him.
“Just kind of rite of passage, you know all of your friends get it so you kind of feel like you have to. You are obligated,” says Sean.
But according to Nevada's DMV. fewer and fewer 16- through 18-year-olds are getting their licenses.
Between 2000 and 2012 only 1,000 more 16-year-olds got their licenses, with fewer than 3000 more 17-year-olds, and by the time they reached 18, about 5000 more got their licenses.
Consider between the last two censuses, Nevada's population grew by 35%.
Those who deliver the driving test say it takes more to get your license at 16, including the 50 hours of certified driving, Getting a license at 18 only requires passing a written and practical test.
Most teens can't afford their own car, so many see no reason to get a license.
Some will take public transportation instead, or depend upon their friends and family to get them around town.
Years ago driver's education was part of the high school curriculum... no longer.
Taught by private driving schools, it can be expensive for some families who cannot afford to pay for the class.
Another stumbling block: the cost to put a 16-year-old on a car insurance policy.