Will 16 Year Olds Lose Their Driving Privileges?
September 1, 2006
According to new scientific studies, the area of the brain that controls impulsive behavior doesn’t reach maturity until the age of 25. This has caused many people to reconsider the age that teens should be allowed to drive. Currently, many states allow teens as young as 16 the right to drive. However, statistics have proved that 16 year olds are dangerous drivers, have the highest auto related death rates, and more teens die while riding in vehicles driven by 16 year olds. What is interesting is that even though many parents and politicians feel that 16 is too young to drive, there is a certain degree of hesitancy when it comes to changing existing laws.
Some people look to the fact that many parents are tired of chaperoning their teens and look forward to the day when they can manage some of the responsibility of transportation themselves. But, ask any parent who has lost a child in a teen related auto accident, and they will quickly tell you that they would gladly chauffer their teen if it meant having their child back in their lives again.
Nearly all states have implemented changes that affect the way teens drive. Some of these changes include limiting the amount of passengers teens may have in the vehicle or decreasing the amount of time teens can drive alone. Nevertheless, though these rules have been put in place to help keep teens safe, they are frequently not enforced.
There is often a misconception behind the reasons why teens are involved in so many fatal accidents. The fatal accidents are often mistakenly blamed on alcohol or drugs. However, as current studies have shown, it is a matter of brain maturity, and not excessive teen drinking that contributes to the high rate of deaths associated with teen drivers.
When people put pressure on politicians to raise the drinking age, changes were made that ensured the drinking age would be 21. This has been a positive change that has undoubtedly saved many lives. Unfortunately, it seems that it may take more fatal accidents before politicians realize that the best way to protect teens from the dangers of driving is to similarly raise the driving age.
Read more driver education news in the Safe Driving Teen Monthly Bulletin. Each month the National Safety Commission publishes the bulletin for teens and parents designed to improve teen driver behavior, attitude, skills, and experience. Subscription Details