Dangers of Driving With Passengers

November 4, 2012
By , Palatine, IL
Currently, Illinois is considering passing a new law forbidding teenagers under eighteen years old driving more than one underage passenger at a time. This is a good idea because it helps prevent distractions while driving. At the same time, the law will also help prevent negative peer pressure towards the driver. Teen drivers should not be allowed to have more than one underage passenger until the driver is older than eighteen.

There are many distractions in a car. When I first learned to drive, my instructor forbade me to listen to the radio during the first drive because I wouldn't be able to focus completely on the road. We students were also told not to adjust the air conditioning too much since a few seconds of lost concentration can be long enough for a serious accident. This loss of concentration can also be caused by passengers in the car. They are likely to talk to the driver during the ride, causing the driver to answer back, leading to a possible accident if the driver is not completely used to driving. That’s why people should wait a couple years to obtain more experience before driving more than one passenger.

Peer pressure is convincing someone to do something that he or she don’t want to do. Some types of peer pressure can be used for a positive effect, such as convincing people to be more athletic or to get better grades. However, there are negative types of peer pressure such as convincing people to do drugs. One way that could cause peer pressure in a negative way is having more than one passenger in a car with a teenage driver. If people know that somebody has a car and is able to drive more than one person somewhere, many people might pressure that same person to also drive them elsewhere. Also, if more than one person is in the car, they will have a better chance of convincing the driver to drive somewhere where the driver wouldn't be comfortable in going. This could be problematic because the passengers might want to go somewhere that could cause unsafe situations.

In driver’s ed, we were shown many videos of what happens to people when they are distracted. People can be distracted by impairments (drugs and alcohol, texting), outside influences (cars honking, annoying cars swerving people off) or by the people inside the car. One video I vividly remember was a British-made video about a car full of girls talking loudly while the driver was driving and texting at the same time. About 10 seconds from the start of the video, the car full on collides with another car which collides with another car and basically causes many people to die. The thing that stuck out to me the most in that video was mostly the graphical part of it. The video was graphic in the way we knew exactly when the cars were going to crash, we heard all the injuries happen, and that the producers were very good in capturing the emotional responses of the survivors. After our driver’s ed teacher replayed this video many times in order to make a point, I will always remember not to drive and text at the same time. I have also realized how much the other people in the car could influence the driver to do something that will end up in a bad result; in this case, the girls in the backseat continuously wanting the driver to text back to another girl caused a big collision.

There are also many different things that people can only do after they are a certain age. While people only need to be eighteen year old to gamble, smoke, live on their own, open a new bank account, etc., people need to be twenty one years old to drink in America. According to Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD), “The age limit for alcohol is based on research which shows that young people react differently to alcohol. Teens get drunk twice as fast as adults, but have more trouble knowing when to stop. Teens naturally overdo it and binge more often than adults.” It is the level of maturity that matters. While people need to be at least twenty one in order to drink, having the minimum driving age at sixteen is also a little unsafe. Teenagers sometimes aren't able to make the best decisions and having distractions and negatively affected peer pressure does not help at all.

Even though many people believe that they are a good driver and that they shouldn't be lumped in with the bad drivers, surveys created by Allstate shows different results. Two thirds of the all the interviewed people claimed that they were very good drivers, but many also admitted that they sometimes practiced unsafe driving methods. This proves that even if people believe that they are a good driver, those people aren't necessarily one. This is why people shouldn't be able to drive more than one passenger at a time until they become a better driver after a couple years of experience at age eighteen.

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