It?s Time to Toughen the Laws on Teen Drivers

It?s Time to Toughen the Laws on Teen Drivers
Turning sixteen years old in teenagers? lives is an exciting event. It allows them to get a drivers license and is a big step towards adulthood. With this, it gives them freedom and control over something they have never experienced before. In most cases, people stress about gangs, drugs, and violence in our communities as a big result of teenage deaths, but the leading causes of accidents today are teenage drivers, especially sixteen and seventeen year olds. Maria Purdy, an author for ?Teen Magazine?, writes about statistics with young teenage drivers. She sites that, ?To equal the number of youths killed in motor vehicle crashes in 1995, a plane with 520 people on board would have to crash with no survivors once a month for a full year? (online). Legislators should pass a law changing the drivers licensing age to eighteen instead of sixteen. By doing this, it could decrease driving problems we face today.In most European Countries, teenagers aren?t able to earn a license until they are at least seventeen or eighteen years old. There have been less fatal crashes among teens in these countries because of this. Cheryl Tevis who wrote an article in the ?Successful Farming? magazine, writes about American teenagers compared to other teenagers around the world. She states that ?American teens drive at an earlier age than those in most countries? (online). This is not surprising to me since there are some states that have allowed teenagers to drive at age fourteen in some circumstances.

For the most part, sixteen and seventeen year olds don?t realize the importance and responsibility that comes when getting a drivers license. They feel it is something to play around with and don?t take it seriously. For instance, immaturity is a cause of being irresponsible. Because of this there are many accidents that happen that could have been prevented. Allan F. Williams, an author for ?Public Health Reports? writes about the characteristics all teenagers have in common. He observes that ?Qualities generally associated with immaturity (such as chance taking, testing limits, poor decision-making, overconfidence) are associated with the more risky driving styles characteristic of teenage drivers? (online). Almost half of the accidents today caused by teenagers were linked to peer pressure and immaturity.

Often, in teenagers? lives, they look towards their friends for advice and guidance rather than their teachers, parents, and others. There are a lot of reasons for this and the biggest one is peer pressure. Teenagers are at a stage in their lives where ?it isn?t cool to listen to mom and dad?, and ?fitting in? is a big factor. Therefore when their friends tell them things to do or say, they are more willing to do it just for the sake of ?fitting in.?

So can teenagers? behaviors be changed? Larry Murdo, a writer with ?The fbi Law Enforcement Bulletin?, writes on the prevention of teen driving accidents, and sites an article from the San Francisco Chronicle which says that, ?when a teenage audience perceives a safety message. . . even when presented by their favorite sports icon, they summarily discount it?s content. On the other hand, if the teens themselves craft and deliver safety messages, without fear of ostracism by their peers, lasting behavior modification can result? (online). So in other words, teenagers? peers and friends have the biggest influence on them than anyone else. As Murdo notes, this is why it is hard for their behavior to be changed, but it could be done. It might be a stage that they are going through but nevertheless, teenagers also often think of themselves as invincible. (online) Vice President Susan Ferguson, of research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says, ?Once they get their license, it?s much more difficult to get teen-agers to listen to you? (online).

On the other hand, there are parents with big families who count on their teenagers to help with car pooling the younger children. By doing this, both the teen and the siblings lives could be put at stake. ?The younger the driver, the scarier the statistics? (online) writes Barbara Fields, an author of an article in the magazine ?Better Homes and Gardens.? As Veigle states, it takes around two to three years before any driver is completely experienced (online). Even though when teenagers get their license, it frees parents from taking their child and their friends places, I think parents would rather hear their children complain about not getting their license for a couple of years, than have a dead child as a result of reckless driving.

It is obvious that eighteen year olds are more mature than sixteen year olds. According to Morris Chafetz, a writer for the ?Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service?, he cites that ?Fatality rates dramatically decrease once young drivers reach 18, as maturity and judgment come to the fore? (online). Even though this is only a two year gap between ages, it can make all the difference when a teen needs to make a quick decision while behind the wheel. According to Anne Veigle, an author from Insight on the News magazine, she talks about the new teen driver restrictions, and shows that ?16-year-old drivers: Have the highest fatality rates of all age groups; make more mistakes that lead to deadly crashes; and cause more deaths by speeding and traveling with multiple passengers of all age groups? (online). It is no wonder why there are so many accidents that occur today.

So why is the driver licensing age sixteen? Perhaps it is because parents and others who don?t want to inconvenient themselves, and battle with teenagers and it?s ?tradition-blessed right of passage.? (online) It was said in ?usa Today? magazine that ?Two-thirds of teen passengers killed were in vehicles driven by another teen? (online). This is just one of the many statistics in this article. It may be a little scary to think that a parents child may never come home again because of a result of careless driving by other teenagers.

Also, earning a drivers license is, as Fields notes, ?one of the most easily attained documents in the United States? (online). Because of this, there are many people that are able to get a license that don?t know how to drive very well. We are putting people out on the streets when they are not ready to make smart quick decisions when the time arises. When anyone starts driving, it does not just effect him or her, but everyone who comes in contact with them. Whether it is a pedestrian, passenger, or another driver, everyone is put into danger. This is why the legislator should pass this law, to help stop the number one cause of death among teenagers today.

It?s Time to Toughen the Laws on Teen Drivers 9.9 of 10 on the basis of 2219 Review.