Many teenage drivers abandoning the manual transmission

Posted at 1:49 PM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-18 22:23:57-04

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SAN DIEGO - Teenagers learning how to drive are ignoring a potentially life-saving skill at alarming levels.

Cameron McBride, a 15-year-old sophomore at Coronado High School, is learning how to drive a manual transmission.

"It's definitely more engaging than an automatic," he said.

For many, there's nothing like revving the engine, pushing the clutch in and shifting briskly to a higher gear. However, Americans are now sticking it to the manual transmission, abandoning it in droves.

According to, only a quarter of new cars even offer the stick shift option -- down from about 50 percent 10 years ago.

The constant clutching and shifting in San Diego's bad traffic is only part of the reason, as new technology is also making the manual transmission obsolete.

There are still some very important reasons to learn how to drive a manual transmission.

"It may be an emergency at the house, and their parent's car is a stick shift, and they cannot drive a stick shift, then it could be a life or death situation," said Maurice Williams of All City Stick driving school, where Cameron is learning to drive a manual transmission.

Cameron said he wants to learn because most European rental cars are stick shifts and he wants to travel. So far, it's come naturally to him. He hasn't stalled yet, meaning he won't have to put the brakes on any of those globe-trotting travel plans.