English Composition I
14 November 2011
Give Them a Brake, Maintaining the Legal Driver’s Licenses at Age Sixteen When you go to the Department of Motor Vehicles the line is inevitably long. As you wait for your number to be called you notice a teenager and his parent in an exchange that brings back fond memories of your own rite of passage into the legal driving world. The teenager, at sixteen, has just received his legal driver’s license and their parent has handed over the keys to the family car. As you watch the exchange do you stop to think “Should sixteen be the right age to acquire a legal license to drive?” Most people in our society drive a vehicle to get from one point to another. We never really stop to think about the age of a driver, unless an accident occurs. Studies show that drivers who start their driving career at the age of sixteen have the ability to easily learn and retain the proper information used to operate a motor vehicle. The study also showed that by beginning a driving career at the age of sixteen affords the young driver the ability to acquire valuable driving experience. In today’s hectic life style, where many parents work two jobs or are single parents, having a teenager be self sufficient enough to drive themselves to and from after school activities and part-time jobs is an important factor in keeping the legal driving age at sixteen. Baring this in mind, the legal age to obtain a driving license should be maintained at sixteen. Taking over the driver’s seat at the age of sixteen, has been a longstanding- rite-of-passage for many sixteen year olds. For teenagers be coming of age and acquiring a legal license to drive is one of the most memorable experiences in their lives. It is a milestone. Being a teen driver is a privilege that should not be taken for granted. Responsibility is one of the many key ingredients in driving; it is a “growing-up experience” (Irvine). “Keeping teens from driving would only make them less responsible” (White). Issues on teen driving are not about age or maturity, but are about making good choices and exhibiting excellent driving behaviors. In the United States most teens can obtain a restricted permit at age fifteen and a legal driving license at age sixteen. Due to the increase in car accidents and fatalities, licensing at sixteen has caught the attention of legislators, who are increasing reforms and imposing certain guidelines for new drivers. The laws are being created to improve the safety and driving knowledge of teen drivers. Currently in the legislature, laws are being reviewed and made that are directly aimed at the new teenage driver. Senator Ellen Karcher of New Jersey, knows firsthand what it’s like to worry about the safety of a child, as she has a teenage son herself and finds it hard handing over the keys. She states that, “Legislators need to take a comprehensive approach to teen driver safety by pushing for safer standards and more education for our young drivers” (Savage). Legislative support for programs such as these, are advancing towards the House for approval. New laws regarding the improvement of teen licensure can only be seen as a positive. It will be a vote to save lives, as the laws will have the advantage of helping decrease the number of teen driving accidents and fatalities. Federal laws indicate that all states must have some type of permit procedure in place for new teen drivers. Many organizations such as the NHTSA or National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, have developed a multi-tiered strategy to prevent motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries among teen drivers. The strategy consists of “increasing the use of seat belts, implementing graduated driving licensure, reducing teenage access to alcohol products, and parental responsibility” (NHTSA). These strategies can only help to increase teenage driving knowledge, experience and an understanding of...