Should U.S. States Raise the Driving Age?
Teenagers worldwide view the privilege of driving as a coming of age ritual. Recently, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has called upon states to raise the driving age from sixteen to seventeen, or possibly even eighteen years old. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or IIHS, is a research group funded by the auto insurance industry. Research by the IIHS has shown that car crashes are the leading cause of death amongst teenagers. This group firmly believes that their evidence proves that raising the driving age will save many young lives. The statistics are alarming. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Traffic Safety Association, approximately one-third of all deaths for people fifteen to twenty years old have occurred from motor vehicle crashes. The vehicle crash rate for sixteen year old drivers is fifteen times that of drivers ages twenty to twenty-four. In 2007 alone, over six thousand young people, ages fifteen to twenty, died in motor vehicle related crashes (“The Facts: Graduated Licensing”). In the U.S., state licensing ages were established long ago. Many state’s laws pertaining to minimum licensing ages back to the beginning of the twentieth century. Over the past few years, bills have been passed and laws have been made in order to better protect our young drivers. The Graduated Drivers Licensing Law has gradually gone into effect state by state. Currently, forty-four out of fifty states have some type of graduated licensing system. The GDL is a program designed to ease young, novice drivers into experienced motorists by gradually exposing them to increasingly demanding driving experiences. This program ensures that teens spend one year proving themselves as responsible drivers before they can receive an unrestricted driver’s license (The Facts: Graduated Licensing”). There are three stages of a graduated licensing system, each...
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