How young is too young to drive? It is a major topic in America today. Many feel that sixteen, the general licensing age, is too young to operate a vehicle. Should a law be passed which changes the legal driving age from sixteen to nineteen? Granted, learning to drive is a teenage right of passage but teens are statistically the worst drivers in the public domain. Therefore, I support changing the legal driving age for the above reason as well as the following three reasons: it will prevent teen deaths, decrease parental stress and save parents money. First of all, protecting human life should be important to everyone.
The Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) website attributes 6,000 of the 42,000 annual vehicular deaths to teens. My best friend’s brother died two weeks before his seventeenth birthday because he accepted a ride with a friend who was not sure how to proceed through an intersection. Larry Musselman, director of the teen-driving institute at Safe America Foundation, believes accidents like the one involving my friend’s brother happen because the decision-making part of the brain does not mature until the late teens and early twenties. If drivers were forced to wait until eighteen for licensure they would make better decisions on the road.
Granted, some teens mature before others, but, that does no mean their parents stop worrying about them. Take for instance the March 28, 2006 Daily Herald Article entitled “Lead Foot Puts Teen in Deep Doo-Doo,” which covered the trial of a seventeen year old girl ticketed twice for speeding two months in a row. The judge, also a parent, asked the girl if she considered that her mother prays she will come home in one piece every time the girl drives somewhere. This same concern is why my aunt Debra prefers to drive my cousins to many of the places they need to go, especially, during rush-hour.
As study by A F Williams shows that the crash rate for sixteen year olds is 241 per 10,000 within the first month of licensure and only drops to 107 per 10,000 after 9 to 10 months. Changing the legal driving age will effectively confront parental concerns about their teens driving before they are mature enough. Finally, parents worried about the safety of their teens must also consider how much it costs to have a teenage driver in the household. My uncle Mike refused to buy his daughters a car until they got jobs and could pay either their car payments or insurance.
To be sure, car insurance is expensive for the parents of teens because driver risk profiles (which decide cost) consider the frequency and likelihood of accidents. According to the Christian Science Monitor, 3 out of very 10 sixteen year old drivers will be in a serious crash. Phil Berardelli, a highway safety advocate, urges parents to consider the costs involved in repairing a car that a sixteen year old will very likely wreck. If parents pay for the repairs their child pays a moral cost by not learning responsibility. If the child pays for the repairs then they spend money potentially set a side for college expenses.
It is an inescapable conclusion that parents save when their teens drive as more mature eighteen year olds. To reiterate my point, a law should be passed changing the legal driving age from16 to 18. Doing so would prevent teen deaths, while decreasing parental stress and saving parents money. Moreover, America’s roads, a public domain for all, would be a safer domain for all. Works Cited Franklin, Stefanie. “Raising Driving Age May Raise Safety: Recent Legislation Attempts to Reduce Teen Auto Deaths. ” Daily Titan 3 Mar. 2005. 12 Oct. 2006 <http://www. daily titan.
com/ media/storage/paper861/news/2005/03/22/News/Raising. Driving. Age. May. Raise. Safety-1538494. shtml? norewrite200610131501&sourcedomain=www. dailytitan. com>. Llana, Sara Miller. “Massachusetts Considers Raising the Driving Age to Curb Car Accidents Among Teens. ” The Christian Science Monitor. 29 Mar. 2006. 12 Oct. 2006 <http://www. csmonitor. com/2006/0329/p02s02-ussc. htm>. Williams, A F, Ferguson, S A, and Shope, J T. “Rationale for Graduated Licensing and the Risks It Should Address. ” Injury Prevention. 8(Suppl II) (2002): ii9-ii16. Downloaded on 12 October 2006 from <http://www. ip. bmjjournals. com>.