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How Does Tech Feel About Driving?


Driving is the most common form of transportation in the United States, but in New York City, where public transport and walking are the important methods of travel, some teenagers question whether getting a license is necessary.

Across New York, only 57% of eligible residents have a driver’s license, compared to the national average of 91%.  A Survey poll of students from all grades at Brooklyn Tech, and found 88% do not have a license yet. In a separate survey, 86% of upperclassmen, most of whom are 16 and older, said they did not have a driver’s license.

Law and Society major Daisy Lee (’25), feels that access to public transportation in NYC is the biggest factor in her decision to put off getting a license. “I have no intention of driving,” she said. “My family doesn’t own a car, we all take public transportation. I’ve never felt I’ve needed to get a permit.” Mechatronics major Byron Luong (‘25) explained that his parents often encouraged him to get his license.  “But why?” Loung argued. “I live in New York…it’s just easier for me to grab [my] MetroCard, hop on the bus or train and travel somewhere.” 

For those who choose to drive, the process is straightforward. In New York State, would-be motorists can get a provisional learner’s permit starting at 16. To obtain this permit, individuals are required to present a form of identification, showing proof of age and residence, or go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) office with a parent or guardian and have them fill out a form and submit proof of identification.  

The New York State Driver’s Manual provides all the information necessary to take the permit test and various practice quizzes. This is freely accessible and can be found in the library, although they are often checked out. Individuals can take the permit test for their junior license for a fee between $75 and $108. Then, there is a requirement of 50 hours of supervised driving, completion of a 5-hour Pre-licensing Course, and then, 6 months after taking the permit test, they are eligible to take the road test to earn a driver’s license with a passing score.

Biological Sciences major Alexandra Arkhipenko (‘25) took the permit test a month after she turned 16 and passed. She has not taken the road test yet, because she has not completed the 50 hours of driving with a licensed adult. “There are driving schools in the city, and I’ve taken a driving class in Brooklyn, but it was really stressful, and that’s probably why I haven’t finished the 50 hours yet.” There are approximately 35 driving schools across New York City.

Luong notes that there is a financial downside as well. “Gas prices are insanely high now, so driving a car is just getting more expensive,” he noted. In 2023, the national average of gas prices was $3.52 per gallon, up by $1.89 since 2003, according to the US Energy Information Administration. For many students, the cost of gas is not the only expense to worry about.  “There are costs for all the tests, for driving schools, and for classes, if you wish to take them,” noted Luong. The cost depends on the applicant’s age and license type – commercial, motorcycle, or operator – but ranges from $60 to $120.

If the cost of Drivers Ed is an issue, there is a simple solution. In Tech’s school library, students can find manuals with the same information taught in driver’s education classes available for free. LIU PharmD major Eason Fan (‘25) explained that before his permit test, he used self-study using resources from Tech’s library, which can also be found at a local DMV office.

Fan’s family relies on their car as a source of income, which has influenced his choice to get a license. “My dad is a delivery driver; he basically drives for work,” he said, “[People] do make a living out of it, and maybe in college if I need to make money by myself, then having a driver’s license will definitely benefit me a lot.” A license opens up opportunities to work at delivery-based companies such as Uber, Doordash, and Amazon, which often allows for schedule flexibility for those with a license.

Within Tech there are varying levels of need and desire for a license. Though it may seem intimidating, having a license could come in handy in the future, and for interested students, there are free resources, both at Tech and online, to aid in the process.

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About the Contributor
Rosemary Sanders
Rosemary Sanders, Staff Writer
Rosemary Sanders (she/her) is a Staff Writer. Rosemary joined The Survey to have the opportunity to learn more about Brooklyn Tech and the people that go here. She believes that journalism plays a vital role in communities by shedding light on new topics and unexplored opinions. She is interested in continuing with journalism to improve her writing skills and hear people's stories. Rosemary's favorite publications to read are The New York Times and The New Yorker. Rosemary doesn't know what she wants to do in the future, but it will definitely involve books and writing! In her free time, Rosemary enjoys reading, listening to music, and thrifting. Right now, her favorite book is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. 

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