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AAA: Fewer teenagers get driver's licenses

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ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - According to a new study by AAA, the majority of U.S. teens are delaying what used to be a huge milestone. 

Jane McCaffrey, 19, still doesn't have her driver's license. 

“Not that bad if your parents drive you like my parents do or if you have a few friends who drive,” she says.

“Insurance is expensive,” says her mother, Laura McCaffrey. “I know as much as they say they’ll pay for gas I’ll be paying for most of the gas and I think I'm OK if they don’t want to get it right away.” 

“I was 14 in Montana and I couldn’t wait to get my driver’s license,” says Char Cornelius.

According to AAA, only 44-percent of teenagers get their driver's license within the first year of eligibility. Only 54-percent have their license by age 18, down from 77 percent two deades ago.

“We’re looking at a 20-year low,” says John Townsend of AAA. “It used to be a right of passage.”

Why are fewer teenagers behind the wheel? One major factor, officials say, is cost. Gas, insurance, driver's education classes and other expenses add up. 

Many urbanites don't see the point in getting a driver's license because they have the option of mass transit. 

"I haven't really been motivated because I don't have a car," says Haley Maness, 17. 

"I would like to get it once I'm ready to, but I'm not in as big of a rush," says Nathalie Pollack, also 17.

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