A Look at the “Driving Generation”

Baby Boomers share their opinions on new car technology, maintenance and repairs, and more in AARP’s latest consumer survey, “Boomers Going the Distance: 2018 Consumer Insights on the Driving Experience,”

The year 1946 not only marked the end of World War II, it marked the beginning of one of the largest generations in America, Baby Boomers­, a group known for its political and social activism, rock ‘n’ roll, and driving! They were born between 1946 and 1964, a time when the country experienced exponential economic growth and increased personal wealth, which encouraged car ownership to skyrocket. The demand for personal cars spurred on major changes in the auto industry, including the introduction of safety features such as the seat belt, airbag and child safety seat. Moreover, the Interstate Highway Act of 1956 literally paved the way for Boomers to become the nation’s “Driving Generation.”

AARP’s new consumer survey takes a closer look at what Boomers value and want in the driving experience. According to the survey, they don’t just think of their cars as a mode of transportation. Nearly half consider it an extension of their personality and self-image, and 1 in 3 give their car a name. This generation also values the driving experience: Getting their license and first car are still a special memory, and three-quarters say that driving is an opportunity for “me time.”

Other insights include:

  • Boomers say new car technology makes driving more enjoyable (72 percent) and safer (77 percent).
  • 1 in 5 have used a ridesharing service.
  • Despite the acceptance of other car tech, they are less interested in self-driving cars; 78 percent prefer a standard vehicle design.


When it comes to unexpected repairs and continued maintenance, Boomers find the experience challenging. More than 7 in 10 say repairs always hit at the worst time and more than half say surprise repairs have wrecked their budget. But, it’s not all bad. They understand the basics of auto repair and maintenance more than their GenXer and Millennial counterparts.

Driving is more than just a means to get from point A to point B. It’s an experience that many Boomers value. More than half (57 percent) believe they will continue to drive for the rest of their lives. The reality is that many will outlive their driving ability by as many as 10 years.

This historically mobile generation isn’t interested in sitting at home all day though. They want to continue to have the freedom and independence to move freely within their communities and stay connected to friends and family. As new car and transportation technologies are developed, America will need solutions that meet the needs of people of all ages and abilities. After all, the “Driving Generation” has places to go.

For more details on the survey, visit www.aarp.org/drivingtrends.

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