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Raising the Drivng Age to 18

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Stacie Asberry
Monday
9:30-10:20 A.M.
RAISING THE DRIVING AGE TO EIGHTEEN WILL REDUCE THE NUMBER OF ACCIDENTS AMONG TEENAGERS
Raising the driving age to eighteen will reduce the number of accidents among teenagers. Records show that “motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death of Americans between fifteen and twenty years of age.” (Nationwide Driver License Standards Will Save Lives).
In the state of Virginia, lawmakers have taken measures to protect their teenage drivers by passing curfew and passenger restrictions. “Virginia’s curfew laws prohibit a driver under age 18 who holds a learner’s permit or driver’s license from driving midnight to 4 A.M. If you are under age 18, you may carry only one passenger under age 18 during the first year that you old your driver’s license. After you have held your license for one year, you may carry only three passengers under age 18 until you reach age 18.” (Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles).
According to the article Is 16 Too Young to Drive a Car?, Scientists have found that the part of the brain that weighs risks, makes judgments, and controls impulsive behaviors is still developing during the teenage years. They have also found that a sixteen year old’s brain is generally less developed in this area than that of a teen just a few years older.” Also in this article, it states that “one in five sixteen-year-olds will be involved in a car crash within the first year of getting their driver’s license.” While it is true that more teenagers get in accidents than adults, it is also true that the brain is not fully developed until middle twenties. So why are penalizing this age group only? Most teenagers feel that they need their driver’s license to take themselves to and from school, to get a job, and to attend extra-curricular activities. Having a car to do these things makes them feel more independent and with those feelings come a lot of responsibility. It should be up to their parents to decide whether they are ready for it or not. Just because someone else at their age got into an accident does not mean that they will too. It can be very beneficial to the parents as well for their children to drive. They can help take younger siblings to school, practices, friends’ houses. Also, they can stop by and get groceries on the way home for their parents. By having a car, they can transport themselves to and from work to provide extra income in their household.
Getting a license at the age of sixteen has been a right for American teenagers for generations now. Some states allow them to get their permits between the ages of fourteen to sixteen and take their driving test between sixteen and seventeen. But this is not the case in many of the other countries around the world. The United States is one of only a handful of countries who allow teenagers to drive before they are ready to do so. Europe, Russia, China, and Canada have all seen the need to make their driving laws stricter on teenagers than that of the United States and not allow them to drive before becoming mature adults.
“In Washington, D.C. teenage drivers are now forbidden to talk on cellular phones and to carry teenage passengers for a year and a half after receiving their provisional license, according to new legislation passed March 23. Many states are following suit; similar bills are pending in Virginia and Maryland. These states are attacking the main cause of the accidents, and the country is coming around. They tackle the issues of cell phones and disturbances in the car, teen licenses are not being banned, nor should they be.” (Raising the Driving Age Will Not Stop Teen Driving Accidents).
After researching this subject for hours, I have come to the conclusion that we should not raise the driving age to eighteen. I feel like the best thing to do is give young teenagers the proper education and knowledge to become the safest driver they can be. A number of states have already put into effect laws making it illegal to use their cell phones, driving after a certain time of night, or carrying too many passengers. This will help minimize the distractions that they will face while driving and make the roads a much safer place, for themselves and the rest of America.

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