16 and license-less

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In the U.S. the age of first-time drivers license receivers has risen from 16 to 19

By Marlena Chertock

He’s a junior in college, but doesn’t have his driver’s license. He’s tried to get it several times. It’s that darn parallel parking that’s tripped him up.

“I haven’t gotten my license yet for one simple reason: parallel parking,” said Josh Axelrod, who attends the University of Maryland. “I’ve taken the test an embarrassing number of times and have yet to get past the parallel parking portion. It’s pathetic.” He didn’t take the test until he was 18 because he was afraid to get behind the wheel.

Axelrod is part of a growing number of 16 to 24-year-olds across the nation who are getting their driver’s licenses at older ages. There are fewer younger drivers on the road today, and older drivers are keeping their driver’s licenses for longer, according to a study released in January 2012 from the Transportation Research Institute at the University of Michigan.

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About Marlena Chertock

Marlena Chertock's first collection of poetry, On that one-way trip to Mars, is available from Bottlecap Press. Her articles have appeared in The Washington Post, Marketplace, and WTOP. Her poems and fiction has appeared in The Deaf Poets Society, Moonsick Magazine, and Paper Darts.

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