USING the Internet means people are driving less, a new study has suggested.
Research released by the University of Michigan last week suggests that a higher proportion of Internet users was associated with fewer licences among young people, suggesting that as we hit the information superhighway, we're pulling off the actual highway.
The study, conducted by Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, looked at 15 countries and found that the patterns in driver licensing have shifted in about half, with fewer young people opting to hit the road.
In 1983, about 94% of 20-something Americans held a drivers licence, the researchers said, whereas in 2008 that figure had dropped to 84%.
In Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Norway and South Korea, a similar trend has been observed, the researchers say, prompting them to suggest that countries with higher proportions of Internet users were associated with lower licensure rates.
In Israel, Finland, Poland, Latvia, Spain, Switzerland and the Netherlands, numbers of both old and young drivers grew, they discovered, although the increase was smaller among the younger group.
Michael Sivak said that the findings were "consistent with the hypothesis that access to virtual contact through electronic means reduces the need for actual contact among young people." - Relaxnews 2012