|A HIGH SCHOOL PARKING LOT|
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This begs the question of why is a 16 year old allowed to drive a car unsupervised?
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put out a fact sheet on teen driving fatalities in 2010. It found that young people ages 15-24 are 14% of the population but account for 30% of traffic injuries.
In 2010 for drivers age 16-19 there were 2,700 teen deaths and 282,000 injured. The CDC found that drivers age 16-19 were three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers over 20, with male teens twice the risk of female teen drivers.
1. Teen drivers tend to underestimate dangerous situations, and the presence of teenage male passengers increases the likely hood of risky behavior.
2. Teens are more likely to speed than older drivers: 39% of the fatal crashes involving teens were the results of speeding.
3. In 22% of the fatal crashes the driver had been drinking.
4. Teens have the lowest rate of seat belt usage.
5. One half of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurre between 3pm and midnight, with 55% of these occurring on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
The CDC went on to declare that the answer to the teen accident rate is more driver training classes and the possibility of graduated licensing. They went on to say that parents were the key to safe driving.
The statistics were telling, the conclusion right on, but the corrective measures were bull shit.
When you visit your local high school you will find that the parking lot is overflowing with student vehicles. When school is let out the parking lot turns into the Indy-500. Young male drivers rev their engines and burn rubber on their way onto the rode system.
The fact is that 16 and 17 year old drivers should not be driving a motor vehicle without adult supervision. They are not responsible enough to understand the possible implications of their often irrational behaviors. You would not allow a 16 or 17 year old to carry a fire arm to school but you allow them to drive an automobile.
An 18 year old, that is old enough to join the military, should be given the privilege of a driver’s license. But, privilege is the optimal word.
Driving should be looked as a privilege and not a right: Privileges should come with responsibility.
The bottom line is that we have irresponsible teen age drivers on the road because parents support it.
The only practical answer, that will work, to address the dangers of teen driving - is legislation.
1. A 16 year old driver should not be allowed to drive an automobile without a licensed adult (21 year old or older) supervising. They should only be issued learner permits until they turn 17.
2. Drivers 17-19 years of age should be issued a Privilege License. This license should be contingent on safe driving practices and any moving violation (speeding, reckless driving, any amount of alcohol use - or alcohol in the vehicle) should result in the revocation of the license to age twenty – no exceptions.
If the teens knew that their privilege to drive hinged on their behavior behind the wheel they would protect that privilege by driving responsibly. A few teens would have to loose the privilege to drive to establish the precedence.
Teens would not like this solution, and many parents would object for fear they would end up having to taxi their teens. I also believe that our spineless politicians would be afraid to enact such a strict teen driving regulation – for fear of voter backlash.
Where does that leave us? Here in