More than 5,000 teenagers die while driving each year in the United States (Gregory). In my opinion this is due to three different, yet equally important factors. The first factor is that the teenage mind is yet to be fully developed, causing them to make irresponsible and sometimes reckless decisions. The second factor is that the experience of driving has evolved since the original driving age was established in the early 20th century. The third and final aspect to take into consideration would be that driving is the lowest minimum age of any adult restricted activity in the United States. Although, it can be one of the more harmful, not only to the perspective driver but his or her surroundings as well. Taking all three of these factors into account I believe the minimum driving age should be raised to 18 to decrease the accident rate amongst teenagers.
According to Anne Fleming, a Spokeswoman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, "Immaturity and inexperience both contribute to crashes. It's hard to untangle the two…Raising the age from 16 to 17 saves lives in crashes. Raising it to 18 saves even more lives"(ProQuest). It is believed that the human brain is nearly 95 percent developed by the age of six. Neural connections are being made incredibly quick during a child’s first few years. However, this does not take into account a second period of maturing the brain goes through that lasts until the age of 21. The second growth in the brain accounts for important skills like decision making and risk assessment (Triplett). These two skills are essential to operating a motor vehicle. Teenagers at 16 years old are three times more likely to be involved in an accident than teenagers at 19 (Triplett). Experts believe that this could have a great deal to do with the amount of maturing their brains still need to go through. Simply raising the age a couple of years and letting a teenager’s mind fully develop could ultimately save their lives as well as the lives of those they share the road with.
The ongoing growth of the frontal lobe is the largest challenge facing thats still developing the teenage mind. The frontal lobe controls both reasoning and memory. According to Susan Scharoun, chairman of the psychology department at Le Moyne College, in Syracuse, N.Y this combined with the hormonal changes a teen is experiencing can affect the amount of risks they are willing to take (Triplett). It seems as though teens are a still working through emotional, physical and psychological changes. It is these changes that causes them to be irresponsible and reckless behind the wheel.
The teen mind is not the only changing factor that a young driver must overcome. Since the beginning of the minimum driving age in the early 20th century, the rules of the road have changed as well. The very first U.S. driver’s license was issued in the early 1900s and was followed by the first law putting restrictions on the minimum driving age in the 1920s (Ford). Since...