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Increasing the Driving Age
Increasing the Driving Age to 18 Years of Age According to recent statistics collected by Stats Canada, there are approximately 160 000 road accidents in Canada each year. Information recorded by the Transportation Safety Board of Canada states that of these 160 000 road accidents, there are approximately 2850 fatalities. Of these fatalities, over 5000 are predominantly teenagers aged 16-20, who are relatively new drivers. Furthermore, 400 000 drivers of the same age category are seriously injured each year due to road accidents. These figures show that the risk of being involved in a car accident (resulting in injury or death) is the highest for drivers aged 16 to 19 than it is for any other age group. Per mile, drivers in this age category are four times as likely in comparison to other drivers, to crash. Road crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among teenagers. Various studies conclude that young people are involved in staggering numbers of motor vehicle crashes for three primary reasons: inexperience, underdevelopment, and immaturity. The minimum driving age in Ontario should be increased to 18 years of age by the provincial government of Ontario. Amending this law would mean that there would be fewer teenage drivers on the road, resulting in fewer accidents and fatalities. Although teenagers argue that driving is a rite of passage, it is pertinent to keep in mind that being able to drive is about experience, rather than entitlement. Driving is not merely a rite of passage, but an activity that involves both the lives of the driver as well as other road users. Teenagers would have an additional two years to study the rules of the road and to perfect their driving skills should this law be amended. This would result in the development of safe driving practices and increased confidence while operating motor vehicles. Formal studies as well as common knowledge prove that the more practice you have at any given act, the better you will be. Increasing the minimum driving age would help teens to get more experience and supervised driving time before they are able to drive by themselves. This ensures the safety of the driver, other road users, passengers, and even pedestrians. Teens would have more time to practice and become confident in their driving ability. As teenagers mature, the hormones in their bodies begin to settle. This allows them to think and process information with a higher degree of effectiveness. Before the teenage body settles, the mind is a mess of impulse and indecision. Increasing the minimum driving age to 18 years of age could lessen the amount of preventable accidents that take place as a result of poor judgment made by drivers due to underdeveloped decision-making skills. Primary causes of these behind-the-wheel accidents are street racing, texting, drunk driving, and peer pressure-all outcomes of poor decision-making. Teenagers often act without thinking of the consequences. This leads to reckless behavior, which often results in accidents or fatalities when an automobile is involved. Such behaviour is directly linked to the underdevelopment and hormonal imbalance in the teenage brain. Giving the brain an extra two years to mature would significantly decrease the number of reckless accidents that take place each year. Teenagers think that they are invincible, and can do anything. This results in reckless behavior because they are unable to recognize danger. They do not realize that their driving affects not only themselves, but other road users as well. Increasing the minimum driving age would also give parents more time to teach their teens about the importance of abiding by the rules of the road. Once teens are able to drive, the control that parents have over them significantly decreases. Increasing the minimum driving age would mean an extension of parental control, allowing the teens more time to mature under the watchful eyes of their parents. This also gives parents more control over their teenagers’ whereabouts. Another pro of the increase is that teenagers would have more time to focus on school and getting into college or university, rather than becoming distracted by the newfound freedom that driving brings. They would be able to take breaks during their driving education so as to absorb as many skills as possible without being overwhelmed. This is a healthier learning strategy than attempting to learn everything about driving in a rushed 8-12 month period. Teens would have more time to appreciate the dangers of drinking and driving, which would result in a lower risk of irresponsibility. There wouldn’t be as many drunk driving accidents, because the rush that teenagers get from breaking rules would have diminished seeing as the individual would legally be able to drink in one year. The statistics for motor vehicle crashes and alcohol-related crashes among young drivers are alarming. Individuals aged 16-25 in Canada constituted 13.7% of the population in 2009, yet they made up almost 31.1% of the alcohol related traffic deaths. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15-25 year olds, and alcohol is a factor in 50% of these crashes.
From a legal standpoint, increasing the minimum driving age in Canada would mean lower insurance rates for new drivers. It would also making proceedings easier in the event of an accident because everyone involved would be an adult. Courts would have an easier time with cases, as they would not have to respect considerations given to minors.