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Taking the Wheel: Would Raising the Driving Age Save Lives?

 It’s a dangerous world out there. Despite all the hours we spend behind the wheels of our automobiles, it’s easy to forget that getting in a car is always a risk. Accidents happen at an incredibly frequent rate.

It’s an especially dangerous act for teen drivers, who are new behind the wheel and face higher rates of accidents. Due to the danger of the open road, there have been many discussions about raising the driving age across the United States. That would bring the legal driving age from sixteen to eighteen in most places.

There are arguments against and in favor of this change. Would it really change things and save many lives in the process? Read on and we’ll walk you through what you should know.

Arguments For Raising the Driving Age

Do you remember being sixteen? You were young and ready to take on the world, but maybe you weren’t quite as ready as you should’ve been. The fact of the matter is that many teens do not have the level of responsibility that many adults do.

This kind of responsibility can be key when getting into a machine that has the power, if handled poorly, to kill. Yet, many teens can be easily distracted behind the wheel. It could be in playing music, using their cell phone, eating, or talking to friends.

These aren’t the only distractions that appeal to teens—teenagers have a low level of driving experience and a distraction could prove to be a fatal mistake.

As you’ve likely heard before, teenagers’ brains haven’t even fully developed by the time we give them keys and let them behind the wheel. Impulse control and consequence prediction are two areas that the teenage brain does not excel in, and that’s two areas that are highly valued in a driver.

Who doesn’t want to see the rate of accidents on the open roads go down? Everyone does. The argument for raising the driving age is predicated on the idea that an eighteen-year-old is simply much more responsible and capable than a sixteen-year-old. More responsible drivers mean fewer accidents overall.

Even those accidents that don’t result in death or serious injury can be a huge headache. They can also be quite expensive and require the help of an experienced attorney–you can check out more about these kinds of cases and the difficulty they present if you want to learn more.

Arguments Against Raising the Driving Age

The points for raising the driving age have value. To many, the concerns raised are serious and deserve serious action. However, there are just as many convincing arguments for why the driving age should remain the same.

While this may sound surprising at first, many of the points are quite pertinent.

For one, those who argue against raising the driving age point to not the age of a person that contributes to accidents, but the lack of experience. Teen drivers are more likely to get into accidents simply because they are newer to the act of driving.

The argument goes that raising the driving age would do nothing to solve this problem. It would simply push those who might get into an accident at the age of sixteen to the age of eighteen, just delaying the issue at hand.

It would also delay the learning of this key skill. The best way to learn something is by doing it, and raising the age would deprive young people of two years of learning time. By the time they are eighteen today, teen drivers are quite experienced and can go off into the adult world comfortably.

This would not be the case if the driving age was raised.

Issues of Convenience

There are also problems relating to the busy life of older teenagers. By the time most teens are sixteen, their social lives are quite busy. They have a good number of friends they likely want to spend time with, not to mention extracurricular activities after school or on the weekends.

Most parents simply won’t be able to find the time to drive their teenagers everywhere they need to go to get around. Raising the driving age would greatly limit the amount of activity many teenagers could involve themselves in.

Teenagers are, of course, against this idea based on the limitations of their freedom alone. But it can easily be argued that keeping a teenager cooped up in their parent’s home until the age of eighteen is likely not to produce a healthy relationship between parent and child.

Granting teenagers a certain amount of freedom and responsibility at this age is good for their overall development.

One might argue that increased reliance on public transportation could help to solve this problem. However, unless the teens in question live in a city like New York with a robust public transportation service, there are probably not enough options to get around. Public transit is not what it used to be in the United States.

At the end of the day, letting teens drive younger makes day to day life easier for the entire family. That’s something to keep in mind when talking about raising the driving age.

The Driving Age Debate Rages On

Is raising the driving age worth seriously considering? There are good points on both sides of the argument. The above breaks down the basic lines of thinking on either side so you can decide for yourself where you stand on the matter.

Need more information on travel and transportation? Keep scrolling our blog for more.

Written by Marcus Richards

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