DON BOOMER/ NCT
Valley Center resident Christian Faelschle, 16, checks his answers while taking the written test for his provisional permit at the Escondido DMV. Far fewer drivers are getting licenses at the age of 16 today than a decade ago.
Ah, Sweet 16. The end of high school is in sight and the long, achy wait for the ticket to freedom ---- a driver's license ---- is finally over. Or not.
A mix of more restrictive teen-driving laws and the sagging economy might be causing more California 16-year-olds to wait until they're older to get their driver's licenses, reports the North County Times.
Department of Motor Vehicles data showed that while on Dec. 31, 1998, there were 112,332 drivers at the age of 16, there were just 66,174 on the same day in 2010.
And, no, it isn't that California is facing a teenager shortage. In fact, from 2000 to 2010, the state's 15- to 19-year-old age group grew by nearly 400,000 to 2.8 million, according to U.S. Census data.