Changing the Legal Driving Age to Eighteen
Every day teens are given access to automobiles. Every day these young people go to their jobs, classes, and athletic practices. Do they all abuse their driving privileges? No. Then why restrict all teens, including the law-abiding and mature, by raising the driving age? This debate reaches all across the nation, to all levels of government, and many related laws and propositions can be found. If the driving age is increased, teenagers will have more difficulty getting jobs and gaining experience. On the other hand, if the driving age is 18, new drivers will have more maturity. So the question remains, should the legal driving age be 18 years old? No, the current driving age should continue, but to prevent adolescent auto crashes we should provide better education and laws.
For example, a young man may make a driving error, such as failing to stop at an intersection, and realize that he is inexperienced and needs more education. Or maybe a young woman is talking to a friend in the car and, paying little attention, almost rear-ends the car in front of her. She barely manages to avoid a collision and in this time of need, has no education to call upon. Several driving mistakes made by teens can be corrected through drivers education and gradually increasing their privileges, instead of giving them a full license with little experience or knowledge.
If the driving age is increased, fewer immature and irresponsible young people will be behind the wheel. The youthful and often senseless teenagers will be given two additional years to mature and learn the responsibilities of driving. These youngsters are likely to make bad decisions, putting their lives and the lives of their passengers in jeopardy. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 10.3 percent of all persons killed in traffic crashes are between ages 16 and 20 (www.nhtsa.dot.gov). Says teen Stefanie Zimmers, "Honestly, I don't follow all the traffic rules" (Zimmers 1). Likewise, teens need to focus on their schoolwork instead of recreational driving. The time wasted driving friends around could be better spent studying for a test. These friends are also a danger and distraction to the young, inexperienced driver. Teens need the extra couple of years to mature and become more attentive.
In contrast, many believe that 16 years old is old enough to operate a motor vehicle. Many minors living with their parents face punishments, such as suspension of driving privileges, if they get a ticket or in a collision. They fear losing the ability to drive the family car if they break traffic laws, and often decide to obey the laws rather than be punished. In addition, teens need transportation to their jobs, classes, various entertainment venues, sports practices and competitions. Parents often lack the time to chauffeur the young adults to and from these places. ...