25 years ago Americans packed into movie theaters to watch a 16 year-old boy take his driving test in License To Drive.

This past weekend I watched that movie again. It wasn’t an excellent film, but it was the only movie I recall that captured what it meant to get your drivers license.

It was a family affair. Parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents – they all wanted to know when you’d be taking the test. They’d give you advice like – “Don’t be nervous. And "Always check your mirrors after buckling up.”

Friends would count down the number of days until the eldest member of their group would turn 16 - his freedom meant their freedom. They’d cheer him on as if he were taking the field against a collective adversary.

It was a coming-of-age event, which signified independence from the humiliation of parental supervision.


A boy became a man and could now, for the first time ever; arrive at his date’s house…alone.

A girl became a woman and could pick up her girlfriends and cruise down the main strip giggling and talking about boys without having to worry about mom overhearing any steamy details.

I’m not sure where I stand on the media’s back-and-forth of “Do young Americans hate cars/driving?”


A part of me wants to believe that the excitement of parental freedom, a freedom to go and be with friends, as seen in this movie, is alive and well.

But another part of me, the part vulnerable to reality, understands that unlike 25 years ago today’s young people don’t need a car to ‘see’ their friends. They swipe open their phone, flick down and they know where and what their friends are doing at all times.

Could Hollywood make another movie today about getting your License To Drive?


But it would have to include two-headed zombie sharks and at least one A-list celebrity who must obtain his or her License To Drive…a six-story robot.


We'll call it License To Drive: When Sharkzombie’s Attack

Hi. Thanks for reading my words. You can follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/dcautgeek. I write about cars on the web at many different places; autobytel.com, dcautogeek.com and a few more that I can't tell you about right now. I like to tell stories that spark conversations. I'm also in a constant battle with grammar.