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The Driving Age: Sixteen Or Eighteen

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It is no secret that the teenage years may be the best of one’s life. Many would argue different quirks to prove this statement. However, a main reason is the ability to obtain a driver’s license. Sixteen is a very significant and important age because of this. But, since the brain is not fully developed it is commonly debated if the minimum driving age should be increased to eighteen to keep the roads safer. Teenagers’ brains are not compatible to drive at the age of sixteen. The frontal lobes of one’s brain is linked to controlling behavior and emotions. That being said, it is imperative for a teenagers’ brain to be properly functioning in order to be in control of a car. The frontal lobes are also important when making driving decisions such as merging, or crossing traffic. Having an underdeveloped brain causes hazards to the driver as well as others surrounding them. With that being said, accidents are much more likely to happen, “For every mile driven, teen drivers are three times more likely to be in a fatal accident”.

It’s hard for teens to realize how much of a risk it is for them driving but since they are so new to the roads there is a lot of room for mistake, which helps explain the significant amount of accidents that they are a part of. “In 2013, young people ages 15-19 represented only 7% of the U.S. population. However, they accounted for 11% ($10 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries”. Having teens account for a greater percent of injury cost than the amount of teens is very significant. Giving teens a few more years to grow and develop would better help to prepare them before taking on the challenges of being behind a wheel. Adults on the road have been exposed to a lot more, simply because of their age. Therefore, in sticky situations on the road they are more likely to have better control of themselves and their vehicle. But teenagers struggle a little more, “Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This shows how teens are simply not ready to take on the role of driving. It is a huge concern with the undergoing development in their brains. Friends, siblings, and parents have the ability to cause a significant amount of distraction to the driver. Therefore, driving with a passenger increases harm, “Interacting with passengers is the most common secondary activity we do while driving, they’re just around all the time. Some people adjust so well when driving with others but it becomes a concern with teens driving friends as passengers. Also, since most teens a sociable talking soon becomes second nature and we don’t always realize the effects of it. “Most of the time, we – the drivers – are to blame. We’ve lost focus”. This shows how we are the blame for things we may not even realize we do, and since teens are driving with their parents until they obtain a license they will soon catch on to their parents habits and adapt them to their own life without even knowing it’s happening. Driving is a way that teens can learn to develop dangerous and improper habits. The new craze is texting and driving. It may seem harmless to send a text, especially this day and age, but when you are holding a single hand on the wheel and one on your phone, it raises a large, and illegal concern. Teens do not realize how awful it is to pick up their phones. They are risking their own lives as well as the others on the road surrounding them. Texting and driving is linked to injury as well as death. It is imperative that teens are able to realize the detrimental effect of using their phones. Parents are not always cautious when they have their kids in the car but simply keeping their phone out of site when transporting their kids sets a example in their child’s life that will lead to good habits as they mature.

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On the other hand, teens need to learn to grow up and gain responsibility, and driving offers a new and engaging way to do this. Driving is a skill that must be developed and learned over time. Therefore if we push off teens driving until they are eighteen, they are still liable to make the same silly mistakes as a sixteen year old. Learning to drive at the age of sixteen or eighteen has no significant difference. You still have to learn the road signs, laws, and directions. In addition, there is no easy way to learn. It is unfortunate, but some people do not realize the effects of driving until something has personally happened to them. Hearing a story on the news makes one think “oh, it just happened to them” but, in reality it can happen to us all.

In addition, teens live busy lives. They attend school daily, as well as have extracurricular activities throughout the week. That being said, driving is an essential component in these events. “We live in an area that doesn’t have a lot of public transportation options”. Not having easily accessible public transportation leaves young adults with very few options when it comes to getting from place to place, and lack of transportation should not ever be a reason why teens are unable to participate in various activities. The Majority of kids don’t have the choice of having parents drive them, “Among married-couple families with children, 96.8 percent had at least one employed parent, and 61.1 percent had both parents employed “. This shows how most teens aren’t able to rely on their parents since they have other commitments outside of family obligations. Allowing teens to remain getting their license at sixteen would release stress on working parents, as well as build time related responsibilities.

It also allows teens an opportunity they can simply not do at home, “Many students are able to get a part time job because they can drive themselves to work on a regular-basis”. Jobs positively reflect teens, and it helps to prepare them for life after high school. They will learn new things in addition to maximizing their resume. Having no work experience puts a damper on a student’s capabilities as they get older. Having a job also allows them to earn money and learn new skills.

In conclusion, it can be assumed that most people want to keep the roads as safe as possible. While, it might be easiest to leave the driving age it sixteen because everyone has to learn at some point, it is wise for officials to see that the brain development of a teen may not be prepared to take on the motor vehicle world.


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