INDIANAPOLIS (WXIN) — Have you noticed an increase in bumper stickers asking you please be patient, student driver? It appears the trend is similar in communities across the country.
These commonly yellow stickers seemed to be plastered on all sorts of vehicles, and often times the people behind the wheel don’t appear to be fresh-faced drivers still learning the rules of the road.
So, what’s the deal?
A search online will show people in cities throughout the United States asking the same question: Are there really this many student drivers on the road? Or is there some other movement around plastering the yellow sticker on your bumper?
“I swear in the last 6-10 months I’ve seen an insane amount of “‘student driver, be patient’ stickers,” a Portland driver said on Reddit.
In a separate Reddit discussion, a Colorado driver sounded off about seeing an increase in student driver stickers and motorists from other parts of the U.S. chimed in with similar observations.
“Whenever I see someone with those stickers it feels like one big inside joke that I am not in on,” one Redditor said.
Users on X, formerly Twitter, also have noticed the trend.
“I’m convinced these ‘student driver’ stickers are used to excuse bad driving. Especially when on a car weaving through traffic driven by a 30-year-old,” said one user.
Speculation has swirled that the stickers – which can be purchased for about $6 online – could be purchased by drivers attempting to gain leniency from the police.
A reporter at NBC4 Washington documented an increase in the stickers in the Washington D.C. area. But if these drivers were hoping for legal protections from tickets, an attorney told NBC4 that the little yellow sticker wouldn’t entitle them to any special protections.
But perhaps the increase in these stickers isn’t drivers hoping to get leniency from police, but leniency from other drivers.
The Indianapolis area has seen its share of road rage violence in recent years, with victims telling police they were shot at due to cutting someone off or even just because of a honk. Even an off-duty police officer was charged in Kokomo for punching a man over a road rage incident.
In fact, reports across the nation show an increase in road rage shootings with some saying the pandemic and firearm accessibility may be contributing factors to the increase. Data from Everytown Research said that on average, someone fell victim to a suspected road rage incident every 16 hours in the U.S. in 2022.
“Most people may not realize that the most dangerous thing you do every day is getting in a car,” said Brad Bushman, an Ohio State University professor.
But will putting a student driver sticker on your bumper buy you any grace from a road rage incident?
“Them student driver stickers mean nothing to me I will still honk at you (sic),” an X user said.