Why Are There Way Less Westside High School Student Drivers?


2022-23 Westside High School student parking lot

Turning sixteen used to be that quintessential right of passage. Ask your parents how old they were when they got their license. Did they have a car in high school? Did their friends? Fast forward to 2022, and the empty Westside parking lot tells you, times have changed.

So, why is it that students don’t drive to school anymore? There could be many reasons, for starters, in a year like 2022 everything is easily accessible by clicking an app on your phone. Need a ride? Enter it in your UBER app. The app requires a card on file, so you don’t even think about paying for the ride, it is done automatically. Instant transportation at your fingertips. Uber and Lyft can slide up to school anytime and take you wherever you want to go. A decade ago it was much harder to get a ride quick, but now with apps like Uber and Lyft getting a ride is much easier. Westside junior Victor Zhang reinforces this idea stating: “I usually use Uber because it’s much easier.”

Though very convenient these apps still cost money, which most people don’t want to spend on a daily basis to get to school. So what else could it be? Maybe students are just getting lazy, but why? These days getting a drivers license is very simple with parent taught drivers ED programs which allow you to get a drivers license online. Westside junior Austin Felix states that the reason he doesn’t drive to school is because he has been procrastinating to do the online course. Similarly, Westside junior Alvin Simon says, “To be honest, I’m just too lazy to start the course.” These claims only proving this new careless mindset amongst students.

Mr. Ethan Thompson, Westside’s student information representative, joined the WHS staff during the 2020-2021 hybrid year. This year Mr. Thompson is in charge of the student parking lot. If staff or students need a parking tag, they contact his office. He too has noticed a dropoff in the number of students driving to school on a daily basis. He comments: “The difference between the parking lot now and before is that more kids took the time and initiative to get their driver’s license. In addition, attendance is another issue that Westside didn’t have before and it is needed to get your drivers license.”

Mr. Thompson believes that students don’t seem to put in the same initiative anymore. Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic many things have changed and getting used to school again was a hard thing to do coming off of a virtual year. This change affected lots of students and is a big reason why kids don’t seem to put in the same innovation, times have shifted and the way students go through their day has changed as well. Junior Bryan Lopez gave his point of view on how his school life has changed after the pandemic, here’s what he had to say: “Ever since we came back its been different, I feel like kids just don’t have the same motivation, me included.”

The pandemic remains to have lasting effects into the 2022-2023 school year as exemplified in the motivations behind students in relation to student drivers here at Westside. Students are less driven to take initiative from that period of exhaust and burnt-out. This is combination with a fluctuating social culture with growing technological advancements like Uber or Lyft, transportation has simply crept in the back of many students’ minds. Driving, one of the many pathways and necessities to adulthood, is evidently becoming less important and closed-off for students and only opening new challenges ahead to the unpredictable future molded by a pandemic past.