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Driving to the Funeral by Anna Quindlen: an Argument Against Under-Age Driving

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In the article “Driving to the Funeral,” author Anna Quindlen presents a powerful argument against under-age driving. In this article, Quindlen’s goal is to persuade her readers that we should increase the minimum driving age. It focuses on high school students who fail to graduate due to the fact that they lost their lives in car accidents while driving inexperienced and recklessly.

According to Quindlen ‘car crashes are the number 1 cause of death among 15- to 20-year-olds in this country’ (Quindlen 2007). Not only this is an issue but the age of drinking is an issue as well. Adding drinking along with driving can turn a good night into a nightmare. Young teens just don’t appear to be mature enough for driving safe and making good decisions, such as an 18-year-old or older would.

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Throughout the article, Quindlen uses ideology to make parents question their decision to allow their 16-year-old to drive. To reinforce her idea she says that “Any reasonable person would respond that a 13-year-old is too young to drive. But statistics suggest that’s true of a 16-year-old as well” (Quindlen 2007). Obviously, no parent in their right mind would give their 13-year-old the keys to the cars because it not only puts the child at risk but other people as well.

The author uses statistics early on in the article she says that “The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has found that neophyte drivers of 17 have about a third as many accidents as their counterparts only a year younger” (Quidlen 2007). She chooses to cite a well known, reliable source, to convince parents how big an impact it is to wait a year before letting their teenagers drive.

Another detail she uses regarding the difference between the United States of America and other nations. She says European nations are tough on driving regulations and licensing provisions. She emphasizes age, responsibility, and safety.

However, she turns their argument around by saying, “The only ones who wouldn’t make a fuss are those parents who have accepted diplomas at graduation because their children were no longer alive to do so themselves, whose children traded freedom and mobility for their lives” (Quidlen 2007). She has to, in a sense, persuade her reader by hitting them where it hurts most.

In conclusion, the author’s general argument appears to be highly effective because she uses strong points and supporting evidence. Quindlen was very convincing in how she takes advantage of the strong emotional attachment that her parent readers have for their beloved teenagers. Overall, I think the author accomplished what she intended to when she wrote the article. She effectively communicates that in order to save the lives of the younger generation, the legal age must change.


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