Stats looking at the numbers of driving licences held by young people appear to suggest that the roads of the future might start magically emptying of traffic all by themselves, with 40 per cent fewer teenagers holding a driving licence now than 20 years ago.
The study, carried out for the Department of Transport by University of the West of England, came with numerous conclusions as to why this might be, with the most unusual idea offered being that internet chatting has removed the need for physically meeting up with friends. Hence no need to drive.
Other more sensible suggestions include the sheer lunacy of the cost of insuring a teenager to be behind the wheel of anything with a larger engine than an Argos lawnmower and built out of anything other than Lego, plus a rise in university attendance meaning kids are kids for longer and can do without the pains of MOTs and taxes when all they do is walk to lectures and pubs.
As well as the drop in 17-20-year-olds with licences the changes are being seen in older youths too, with the percentage of people aged between 21 and 29 holding a driving licence falling from 75 per cent to 63 per cent, leading the academics to postulate that this could be the first sign of the slow death of the car-having dream among future generations. [The Times]