General outlook of the paper
laws and restrictions
Statistics of accidents
Extent of teen accidents
Comparison with adult accidents
Causes of teen accidents
drunk driving and inexperience
peer pressure as a contributing factor to highest levels of accidents
Opposition to the law
lack of proper training and experience
death rates related to teen accidents
traffic accidents as the primary cause of death among teens
showing off considered dangerous
Increasing driving age
MinimumAge for Teens to Acquire a Driving License
Raisingthe minimum age for teens to acquire a driving license is a topicthat has drawn various ideologies. Some think it should be loweredwhile others deem it is at the right place. In the United States, thedriving licenses are issued by individual federal districts,territories, and the States. The driving licenses are acquired withinthe State of residence and are acceptable across the country. Due tothe expansiveness in the motor industry, vehicles have becomeaffordable to many people. The question still begs whether teenagersshould be allowed to drive at their tender ages.
Thoughdifferent states have their laws and restrictions by which citizenshave to adhere, issuing of driving license to teens is a commonissue. In this paper, the reasons behind teenage accidents will bediscussed. It is not clear whether inexperience is the cause of highteenage accidents. However, the norm has completely gone out of hand.The paper will also look at why some people think the age should notbe increased. Deaths caused by automobiles have increased across allthe age groups. The article will elaborate on the most efficientmeans of reducing accidents caused by vehicles. Does experience helpin avoiding accidents or how teen life is related to the accumulatedrates of accidents?
Thedegree by which teenage accidents involving automobiles have beencontinually rising over the years. Some are caused by drunk drivingwhile others due to inexperience. The problem is not going todisappear all by itself. It requires actions from the involvedparties to ensure sobriety. The State should raise the age limit forwhich licenses are issued or even introduce graduated licensing sinceteens are not developed enough to engage in dangerous duties ofdriving. Unlike other countries, the United States allows its teensto acquire licenses at tender ages. As per studies, teenagers areinvolved in quite many accidents (Comstock, Erica, and George 18).
Accordingto the National Highway Safety Administration (NHSA), drivers aged 16years constituted the highest levels of accidents. Most are involvedin crashes, which are due to driver error or speeding. The reasonsbehind it can be attributed to the peer pressure among other teenrelated issues. Indeed, as teenagers, drivers would most likelyengage each other in races. Such competition can result in crashesthat are detrimental to both occupants of the vehicle and surroundingenvirons. As compared to experienced drivers, teens are always eagerto engage in risky ordeals without much care. They do not care to usesafety belts or even drive within the required limits. Many scholarsthink lack proper training and experience, impulsiveness andimmaturity are the core factors revolving around teen accidents.Teenagers should not be targets of their driving naivety.
Asevidenced by research, the death rates related to teen accidents havebeen on the rise over the years. For instance, between 1975 and 1996,the rates increased considerably. The degree went up from 19/100,000in 1975 to around 35/100,000 in 1996. The increase was gradual inboth females and males. For 16-year-olds alone, the number rose fromaround 362 to 547 from 1975 to 1996. The figure is about 50% of thedeaths. On the other hand, 17-19-year-olds went down 27% during thesame period. Looking at it from a different perspective still showsthat 16-year-old drivers are presenting a major issue in the highways(BBC NEWS).
Asper the NHSA, accidents regarding 16-year old drivers are not similarto the ones involving experienced drivers. As a matter of fact,16-year old drivers get themselves in trouble while handling unusualdriving conditions like small emergencies. They manage the situationdifferently as compared to older people. Statistics in 1996 showedthat roughly 82% of accidents involving 16-year olds were, as aresult, of a driving error. The same study revealed that only 68% ofdrivers aged between 17 and 19 were due to driver errors. As for25-49, only 53% were due to driver errors. The statistics evidentlyshow a lack of maturity involving 16-year-olds when it comes todriving (Comstock, Erica, and George 16). They do not have thecapacity to avoid simple error when caught in certain situations. Inaddition to that, they are less likely to make the right decisionwhen cornered.
Thestatistics do not lie, and they are a real representation of whateveris happening on the ground. If the teens were to be restricted fromdriving, the levels could be substantially small. The reasons behindthe alarming degree can be attributed to various aspects i.e. fromimmaturity to recklessness, and all these are associated withteenagers. Peers mostly instigate the urge to get driving. And sincethe vehicles are available, the teens ride them to school among otherplaces. And even if they are not permitted to do so, they can usethem to attend parties or any other events especially during thenight (Tefft Brian).
MostAmerican teens deem obtaining a driver`s license as the mostsignificant undertaking. However, they also have poor recordsregarding road safety. As Memmer ascertains, traffic accidents amongteens are the primary cause of death among teens aged 16 to 20.Teenagers have road rage and most of them like to drive during thenight. At that time, they engage each other in speed competitions asif they were the only road users. The norm is practiced extensivelywithin the United States even though authorities are continuously onthe lookout. As per data, young people constitute around 6.7% ofdrivers within the United States. They are also involved in accidentsat almost the same levels i.e. 14 percent. The percentage ofaccidents is quite high considering they are just young adults.
Anotherreason people think the age should be increased is their involvementin school. Most of the 16-year-olds are still in high school whichstill means they are quite immature. They are neither experienced norresponsible enough to be involved in driving. At this age, the teensare even forced to undertake studies, have no clear direction amongothers. They are still under the parental care and have not maturedenough to make adequate decisions. Their inadequacy in thinking alonedoes not suit involvement in driving. If a 16-year old is handed thekeys to a new vehicle, they often show off their skills thinking theyare inexorable to danger. They are also not fearful of driving whiledrunk. It is a feature that is shared by almost all teens across theworld. For that reason, it quite concerns to hand them keys at suchearly ages (Sostarecz).
Acommon practice among the teens also involves driving while blastingradios, making endless calls, and bellowing among others. For anexperienced older driver, it is easier to keep focus and avoiddistractions that might come along. However, teens have a propensityfor losing focus and getting themselves in trouble. Fatalitiesrelated to such ordeals are many, yet they are avoidable. Asstatistics have shown, one in every five teenagers aged 16 years, islikely to be involved in a fatal accident within the first two yearsof obtaining a license. At the age of 18, the rates diminishsubstantially. Some scholars attribute this to maturity or ratherexperience in driving. At this age, most have completed their highschool and are mentally able to handle certain kinds of pressure(Kirsten).
Thoughit is a noble undertaking, the blame cannot be entirely laid on theteenagers. Parents and other stakeholders have a role to play inensuring the kids are safe no matter their ages. Moving the age ofissuing driver`s license to 18 does not guarantee safety on theroads. The kids can still sneak out with the vehicles and attendnight events without their parent`s knowledge. Some children try outdriving even at tender ages of 10 or 12. They secretly enter vehiclesand try to drive them without their parent`s consent. If the kids dothat, they are even in more danger than when they have the knowledgeto drive (BBC NEWS).
Trainingand educating teens is the best remedy to counter the rising fatalaccidents. They can be trained on safety among other dangers.However, the core trainers remain the parents. Parents are involvedin the daily activities of their kids and are in a better position toissue them with appropriate knowledge. If the parents were to teachthe children from early stages, with much concentration, they wouldproduce more careful drivers than the training schools.
Raisingthe age limit is a noble task which will reduce the fatality amongthe teens. Though training and education can benefit themtremendously, they are still too immature to make accurate decisionswhen it comes to driving. Life cannot be gambled on. Just like teensare rebellious against regulations at home, so are they against theadult safety standards. Allowing them to drive at early stages isallowing fatality rates to remain the same or even heighten withtime.
Raisingthe age limit would be a giant step in the right direction. Themotive will limit carelessness in the roads and encourage maturity.Parents, as well as law enforcers, have an enormous task of ensuringthe law is put into action. Parents should deny the kids fromborrowing their vehicles or even desist from the temptation topurchase one for them. It is a better idea rather than gambling withthe kids` life on the road.
Theteens are most likely going to drive without licenses once the law isput into play. Teenagers have a tendency of disobeying orders even ifit concerns their lives. They will seek other backdoor means toundertake what they deem is rightfully theirs. It is, therefore,paramount that parents become more careful on how to handle theirvehicles.
BBC NEWS. "Driving test age rise considered for teenagers." 11 October 2013. Driving test age rises considered for teenagers. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-24485792. 10 June 2016.
Comstock, George A, Erica Scharrer, and George A. Comstock. Media and the American Child. Amsterdam: Elsevier, 2007. Print.
Kirsten, B., and Parker, C. "Should it be Raised to Eighteen? (Legal Driving Age)." 2016. Should it be Raised to Eighteen? (Legal Driving Age). http://www.teenink.com/opinion/all/article/260496/Should-it-be-Raised-to-Eighteen-Legal-Driving-Age/. June 2016.
Sostarecz, Alexander. "Raising driving age to 18 when teens are more responsible." 11 April 013. Raising driving age to 18 when teens are more responsible. http://articles.mcall.com/2013-04-11/opinion/mc-teen-driving-age-sostarecz-ithink-0412-20130411_1_driving-age-teens-freedom.
Tefft Brian, Allan Williams & Jurek Grabowski. "Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers." Teen Driver Risk in Relation to Age and Number of Passengers (2012): 1-18. Document.