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Given a choice between a new Toyota Corolla or the latest iPhone, 16-year-old Allison Katz of Irvine says that's an easy one.

She'd take the phone.

Texting drives her social life. She doesn't have a driver's license and hasn't rushed to get one.

"I mostly stay near my house except for soccer practice, and then Mom or Dad drives," Allison said.

It's enough to keep an auto executive awake at night.

Thirty years ago, nearly half of 16-year-olds had a driver's license, their passport to independence. By 2010 that figure had dropped to 28%, according to research from the University of Michigan.

 



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