Increasing The Age Of Licensure Essay

1735 words - 7 pages

On June 2011, three teenage boys were killed in a car accident near Raleigh, North Carolina. Sixteen-year-old Austin Flowers was driving along with his friends Lane Meyer, sixteen-year-old and Matt Speight, seventeen-year-old after a church event Sunday night. WBTV News reported that the driver, Austin Flowers was driving 129 mph. Austin lost control over the speed and crashed into a tree. All three boys attended Wake Forest-Rolesville High School. Matt Speight was set to graduate and would have turned eighteen that week. The funeral for all three boys was held in Raleigh area (“3 NC Teens...” ).
On December 2012, sixteen-year-old Kacie Chamberlain and Daniel Underhill were killed in a car accident in Orange County, North Carolina. Two other teens who were in the vehicle with them were seriously injured and hospitalized at Duke University Hospital. According to officials, the truck they were driving in lost control and hit a tree. The troopers said that speeding and not wearing seat belts were main factors in the crash. Families, friends, and classmates were devastated over the loss of the two high school juniors (“Two Teens Killed...”).
Motor vehicles accidents are the leading cause of deaths for teenagers in the United States. According to Vivian Hamilton, “Car crashes kill more teens each year than any other cause” (1). In 2010, seven teenagers from ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor vehicle crashes. In 2011, approximately 1972 young drivers, ages 15 to 20, were killed in motor vehicle crashes (Facts About Teen Drivers”). The age of which a person can drive legally varies from country to county. In the United State, individuals are allow to take a driving test before their legal voting age which is eighteen or legal drinking age which is twenty-one. For example, in North Carolina, the three-stage licensing system begin at age fifteen for learner’s permit, age sixteen for the intermediate stage, and age sixteen years and six months for full licensure (“Facts About Teen Drivers”).  
The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among sixteen to nineteen-year-olds than among any other age group because most teenagers are risk takers. Robert Epstein, the author of "The Myth of the Teen Brain," explained that “there is more ‘gray matter’ in the teenager’s brains than in adult brains, with the frontal, decision making, part of the brain transitioning to the more developed white matter during teenage years” (58). This is an explanation for the risk taking behaviors of teenagers. Teen drivers ages sixteen to nineteen-year-olds are three times more likely to be in fatal crushes than drivers aged twenty and older. Among teen drivers, those at high risk for motor vehicle crashes are teen drivers with teen passengers. The presence of teen passengers increases the accident rate of unsupervised teen drivers. During the first few months of licensure, teen drivers are at high risk for accidents (“Teen Drivers: Fact Sheet”).

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