The huge number of car crashes caused by young drivers is an issue which is now being strongly debated in Australia. According to the new research released on 7 April 2010 by Carhistory.com.au, Australia’s most comprehensive vehicle history website, one in ten Australian teenagers have had a car accident (Coffey, J 2010). Due to that serious fact, an idea of increasing the driving age to 18 with a minimum of 18 months on ‘P’ plates has been suggested to reduce the number of teens’ deaths by car accidents. Although that proposal will lead to some inconvenience for young drivers, it can prevent them from unsafe and immature way of driving, which guarantees the reduction on teens crashes. One drawback of the issue that the driving age should be increased to the age of eighteen is the inconvenience caused to teenagers. Driving is becoming essential in modern society, especially for the youth. 16 and 17 year old children should be allowed to drive to get to school or work because taking public transportation is very time consuming, and it is also a big problem for them if they are late from the classes for they miss a bus. Furthermore, country kids who live in areas with few buses or trains and very far from city cannot expect their parents to drive them around every day, so having rights to drive is really necessary to them.
On the other hand, everything has two sides. The increase in the driving age to 18 has been strongly advocated due to the fact that young drivers are not able to control the cars safely on the road. One major reason leading to car accidents is the distraction while teenagers drive. Multi-tasking is becoming popular in many teens but it does not work for young drivers. They chat on the phones, listen to an iPod while driving, and even eat some fast food. They can also be distracted by debating with their friends or changing the radio station (The three top reasons why teen crash cars). Those actions directly prevent them from concentrating on the road, which is able to cause collisions. Even experienced drivers can have accidents when they leave their minds and eyes off the road, and their hands off the wheel. From the research for young drivers of South Australia government, having passengers in the vehicle is a distraction and can increase the risk of a crash.
Inattention was reported as the cause of 32% of fatal crashes and 44% of serious injury crashes in 2005 (Government of South Australia 2005). Another element leading to car crashes is young drivers’ inexperience on the road. During the first 500 miles of driving, teen drivers are 10 times more likely to be in auto crashes than any other age group because they are lack of training (Ten tips to keep teens safe behind the wheel 2010). At the age of 18, one gets more exposure to traffic situations and experience in making decisions, so he drives more securely and is less likely to harm others. Moreover, the longer teenagers stay on ‘P’ plates, the safer they drive due to some restrictions like no alcohol while driving as well as the speed limit of 100 km/h even where the posted speed limit is higher (Government of South Australia, n.d.). Therefore, 18 months on ‘P’ plates is a good idea to make young drivers drive more consciously.
Another factor leading to the raise in the age of driving is young drivers are not mature enough to be on the road. Firstly, teenagers’ brain does not develop enough to deal with all complicated situations while driving. This is clearly shown by the fact that some parts of the brain do not develop until late teenager, like the prefrontal cortex which is the most intelligent part of the brain and known as the brain’s executive. According to Earl Miller, a professor of neuroscience at MIT, the prefrontal cortex does not grow fully until the age of eighteen, nineteen and twenty (Patterson 2010). Moreover, young people are those who are at an age of demanding the independence, as well as taking part in a thrilling social life. They act at night, travel at a very high speed under the influence of alcohol or drug to show off because of peer pressure. Teenagers are also irresponsible for what they cause.
With the overwhelming desire to experience new more challenging actions, they usually do whatever they like without thinking about the subsequences. This is proved by the fact that the parts of the brain responsible for controlling impulses and considering the consequences of decisions may be under development until well after teenage years (Young Drivers: The Road to Safety, 2006). Therefore, they cause an enormous number of car accidents which result in a significant amount of deaths. In Western Australia, according to the Western Australia Government, young less experienced drivers, especially from 15 to 19 years old, who consume alcohol before driving are at higher risk of crashing than people in the other age groups (Government of Western Australia 2010)
In conclusion, the increase in the driving age to the age of 18 with the minimum of 18 months on ‘P’ plates has raised many for and against arguments. For young drivers, that idea is indeed irritating. In spite of that fact, it cannot be denied to help to avoid the raising number in car accidents caused by young drivers because of reckless and unconscious driving. Modern technology such as car was invented to serve the society, but young people are abusing it and causing a lot of regrettable consequences. Therefore, the law of increasing the driving age should be applied as soon as possible to urgently lessen the bad results that young drivers may cause.
Coffey, J 6 April, 2010, One in ten Aussie teens have has a car accident, Media release, accessed 13 April 2011, .
Government of South Australia, 2005, Road crash facts 2005 for South Australia, Department for transport, Energy and Infrastructure, pp.15, accessed 13 April 2011, .
Government of South Australia, n.d., P1 provisional licence, Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure, accessed 13 April 2011, .
Government of Western Australia, July 2010, Drink driving: Information sheet, Government of Western Australia, accessed 15 April 2011, pp.1.
Patterson, L Mar 29, 2010, Earl Miller says younger generation will be better multi-taskers, Earthsky, accessed 12 April 2011, .
Ten tips to keep teens safe behind the wheel, Jul 21, 2010, accessed 06 April 2011, .
The three top reasons why teen crash cars, n.d., Car accident advice, accessed 06 April 2011,
Young Drivers: The Road to Safety, Oct, 2006, Policy Brief, accessed 06 April 2011, .
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