Too Young to Drive

February 24, 2010
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Sixteen year- old Bryan has just received his license and is new to the world of driving. He is riding through a neighborhood at 40mph even though the speed limit clearly states not to exceed 25. Suddenly a little girl runs into the street after her ball. Realizing that she is there seconds before they collide, he stomps on the breaks. But it is too late. The little girl has already been hit and killed and Bryan is severely injured.

Unfortunately this situation occurs often. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) more that 350,000 teens were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor- vehicle crashes in 2008 alone (“CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”). This is why the driving age should be increased. Not only would it reduce the injury and fatality rate in the teen population, but it would also reduce the amount of drunk driving, increase the cardiovascular activity in teens, and improve the relationships between parents and their children across the nation. The driving age should most definitely be increased.
Speeding most likely wasn’t the only reason why Bryan got into an accident. He could have been driving under the influence of alcohol, (A.K.A.) drunk driving. Come on people don’t act like you don’t know that it’s an issue. I mean according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration out of 12,998 drinking driving fatalities in the United States in 2007, 1,393 were caused due to teen drinking and driving (“Naik”). About 28% of teenagers killed in motor vehicle crashes were drinking either before or while they were driving (“Naik”). If the driving age were raised this would really make the roads a lot safer because the teenager would get a chance to fully mature. When I say mature I mean mentally of course. As Laurence Steinberg, a Temple University psychology professor, says, “The teenage brain is like a car with a good accelerator but a weak brake. With powerful impulses under poor control, the likely result is a crash.” He also says that the juvenile brain is still maturing in the teen years and reasoning and judgment are developing well into the early to mid 20s (“Daily Herald”). An increased driving age would insure that young adults are mentally prepared to take on the responsibilities of driving. Better judgment means a safer driving environment.
Speaking of better judgments, it would be most beneficial to millions of teens’ health if the decision to increase the driving age was put into action. Childhood obesity is a problem that our American society is greatly struggling with. This is a problem that we Americans have been dealing with for a long time and by the diving age being so low, it is not helping at all. I mean obesity levels among children have tripled over the last 20 years ("Childhood Obesity, Fast Food Obesity, Child Obesity Causes"). If teens as young as fifteen are able to drive, then that is what they are going to rely on to get from place to place. As a result of the driving age being increased, teens would have no choice but to get out more. If it is unnecessary for them to have to drive to get somewhere, then I see no reason why we teenagers can’t walk or ride our bikes. Now I’m not saying that you should never drive to get to places, but there is nothing wrong with getting a little exercise.
By the driving age getting raised, it would also improve the relationship between parents and their children. Not only would it give parents many more years to talk to their children about the responsibilities of owning a drivers license, but it would also give the parents more parental control. You see, most teens don’t really like to open up to their parents and then they start to feel that they are too grown up to deal with them. But an increase in the driving age would give them another topic to talk about. I also believe that it is very important that parents have some kind of control over their children even though they become young adults. Teenagers tend to think that they know everything and they try to go against their parents’ word. But if they have those extra years to talk and open up and actually see that their parents are there to help and guide them, then maybe teenagers won’t be so quick to rebel against their parents.
So imagine if the driving age was increased before young Bryan got the chance to get his license. He would have been way more prepared for the rules of the road and for the responsibilities of owning a license. An increase in the driving age would not only spare the lives of the thousands of teens that get behind the wheel every year, but it would also spare the lives of the young that just so happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. All in all, the driving age should be increased. It would just be a lot more beneficial to the teen population. I know that we teens are looking forward to the day when we get our licenses. But I just don’t think that we are mentally mature enough to handle it at the age of sixteen. The best thing about it is that we teenagers are not the only ones that would benefit from the driving age being increased. With more mentally prepared young adults on the road, it creates a safer environment for the other drivers. The relationships between parents and their children would also benefit from the age change. Parents would be more in tune with their child’s feelings. Our teen populations’ health would also grow significantly. Greater teen health, healthier parent/child relationships, and better prepared young adults. There are just too many great factors that would come out of increasing the driving age. Our government really needs to make this an official law.





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