Legal Driving Age Sixteen. The age nearly everybody looks forward to. For teenagers it means getting your license and practically never being home; for parents it’s a relief to not drive their kids everywhere and an extra person to run errands. There is a lot of anticipation rooting from just one age, however some critics believe the age should be raised. This is because sixteen year olds are not nearly responsible enough, and there are many accidents involving teens. However the real question that spurs from this controversy is; would it actually make that big of a change in the accidents and the responsibility of teens? I do not think the legal driving age should be changed because teenagers need to learn responsibility, pushing the age back will not change the maturity, it is an inconvenience and more illegal activities will occur.
Responsibility, by definition, means the opportunity or ability to act independently. In my opinion this is one of the greatest factors in growing up.
Throughout all of your life, everyone is prepping you for the responsibilities you will face. One of the biggest responsibilities teens face is getting their license. According to Melissa Savage, there are Nearly 3,200 young drivers (age 15-20)(Teen Driver Tune-Up) on the road today. Many people believe teens are not responsible enough to receive their licenses, however you must go through a written test, six months of driving with a significant elder, and a driven test in order to receive a driver’s license. Going through those six months and two tests prove how much authority teens have. You must study for both tests, which also proves that many teens qualify to drive. Another study done by Teen Driver Tune-Up, proves Sixteen-year-old drivers have a crash rate three times higher than seventeen-year-olds, five times greater than eighteen-year-olds, and twice that of eighty-five-year-olds.(Melissa Savage). Although the crash rate is higher for sixteen year olds, every driver has to start somewhere. I’m not saying the driving crash rate is acceptable by any means, but I do not think we should target only teens. Teens also learn responsibility through driving because they are forced to pay for certain things. Many teens are forced to pay for gas, insurance, car payment, and many other things. This forces teens to get a job and work for those things they want. In my opinion, teens learn the trait of responsibility through driving. Responsibility is not the only thing that roots from driving. Maturity is also associated with driving. Although many critics say teens need to be more mature in order to drive, I think maturity comes with driving. According to a poll taken by USA Today, Americans increasingly favor raising the driving age.. sixty-one percent say they think sixteen-year-old is too young to have a driver’s license compared to the thirty-seven percent who thought it was OK to license sixteen-year-olds(Robert Davis). Although the favors were much higher for raising the driving age, I do not think it would be a good idea. Sure, sixteen may sound young to some people but everybody has to start somewhere. If we raised the driving age, that would make seventeen or even eighteen-year-olds apt to get in the same amount of accidents as sixteen-year-olds, because they would be just as inexperienced. For example, I was involved in a serious accident when I was sixteen, it taught me a lot. Because of that one accident, I learned not to lie to my parents, and was taught to pay off and work for my debts. I had to pay for a class that was three hundred dollars and worked hard in order to get a new vehicle. As mentioned above, the crash rate for sixteen-year-olds is much higher than that of seventeen and eighteen-year-olds, however changing the legal driving age would certainly not change those odds. Raising the driving age would be an inconvenience for teens and parents. A multitude of teens are involved in sports and extracurricular activities as many parents encourage them to be. However, a majority of these parents complain because they are the ones having to haul the teens around to all the practices and meetings for those clubs and activities. You have too many practices, Why are you in so many sports? I cannot wait until you can drive yourself, everyone has been there, parents complaining about things you cannot change. However when teens turn sixteen, a burden is lifted from many parents because they know they are no longer responsible for driving their busy teens everywhere they want to go, plus they have another person to run errands for them. Many parents would continue to complain about driving their kids around for two more years if the age was changed. Although adults say teens are the most prominent age for accidents, What’s interesting is the leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds is auto accidents. They are the only age group where this is true. However, car crashes are the leading cause of accidental death in all age groups over 4 years old (Mike Roberts). Along with maturity and responsibility rides illegal activity. It may sound odd because those three things do not go together, however, raising the legal driving age is such an inconvenience and will cause more suspicious activities. Although, if the age was changed to an older and higher age, criminal activities would occur more often. I know people that drive before they have their license while the age is still sixteen! Imagine what would happen if the age was raised, there would be even more illegal, underage drivers on the road because of the teens’ busy life. Many parents do not care their children drive underage, some even encourage it. In my opinion, parents encourage underage driving because they do not want to drive their teens everywhere. They do not think of the risks and consequences that could come with underage driving. Therefore leading to an abundance of underage drivers on the road which could potentially lead to more fatal accidents. However, according to the Bismark Tribune:Car accidents occur for a variety of reasons, the main ones being recklessness, negligent driving, alcohol, inattentiveness and a lack of respect for safety precautions and laws. Driving and conversing, either to passengers or on a cell phone, limit concentration, as does other forms of distractions including loud music and/or passenger excessive movement. Accidents also seem to happen in patterns or trends depending upon the various aspects of roadway engineering, things like directional laws, speed limits, stop and signal signs and lights, and traffic loads. (Increasing Driving Age)As you can tell, teens are not the only drivers involved in accidents nor are they the only reason accidents occur. In conclusion, raising the legal driving age would cause an up rise in many areas of teen and parents’ lives. For example it would lead teens to be less responsible and less mature, as well as causing underage driving to be more prominent. In my mind, changing the legal driving age would not be a good idea. Many people, including parents, look forward to the age of sixteen because it means finally being old enough to drive and is a sign of maturity. Changing the driving age would not lead to less crashes, we would likely have the same amount of crashes however it would be with seventeen-year-olds rather than sixteen-year-olds. Although the crash rate of teens is quite high, there is precautionary steps to take in order to decrease that rate. Instead of changing the driving age, we could propose that all students must take a Driver’s Education class to gain more knowledge on the area driving. As one can conclude, changing the driving age would not make much of a difference it would cause teens to be less responsible, less mature, it would be an inconvenience, and cause more illegal activities.