It's a question that could reverberate across the country, wherever a new teen driver is turning a key in an ignition.
Is 16 the right age to get a driver's license?
Researchers for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety say the answer is no, and they point to statistics to back up the position that raising the driving age makes sense and would save lives.
The insurance institute has pressed the question for years. At this week's annual meeting of the Governors Highway Safety Association in Scottsdale, Ariz., institute President Adrian Lund is going to push it further. Although Lund doesn't expect to lobby state legislatures, he said Monday he will advocate for a higher minimum driving age in his speech Tuesday.
Linnea Greci sees the issue a little differently. Then again, she's 15.
"I don't think it matters what age you are," the Hinsdale Central High School sophomore said Monday before hitting the road for her driver's education class, "as long as you have the practice and experience."
The institute's 17-page report collects research on the minimum driving age from the United States and countries that have higher licensing ages. The research shows states are making progress in reducing the No. 1 killer of teens—motor vehicle crashes—through graduated driver licensing. The laws ease restrictions on teen drivers as they gain experience and keep a clean driving record.
In recent years Illinois has enacted teen driving reforms, many of them after the Tribune's "Teens at the Wheel" series in 2006 examined ways that fatalities might be reduced. The state reforms included doubling the number of adult-supervised hours required behind the wheel to get a driver's license and tripling the length of time a new teen driver must possess a learner's permit. Some credit those changes for significant declines in teen driving deaths in the first seven months of this year.
But "we're still losing a lot of teens on the road each year," Lund said. Motor vehicle crashes kill more than 5,000 teenagers every year.
"This is kind of the next logical step," he said of the insurance institute's push to raise the minimum age. "Do these teens need to be driving as early as we are allowing them to drive?"
In a prepared statement for release Tuesday, the institute contends research shows "that licensing at later ages would substantially reduce crashes involving teen drivers."
The example the institute uses most prominently is New Jersey, the only state with a minimum driver's license age of 17. The report cited a study from 1992-96 in which the rate of crash-related deaths among 16- and 17-year-olds was 18 per 100,000 in New Jersey, compared with 26 per 100,000 in Connecticut, which had a minimum driver's license age of 16 and 4 months.
Neither New Jersey nor Connecticut had graduated licensing laws at the time of the study.
The report also showed that the New Jersey fatality rate fell significantly for teens after a graduated licensing law was enacted. Among the state's 17-year-old drivers, the percentage in fatal crashes dropped 33 percent after the law was enacted.
A combination of factors contributes to make teenagers poor drivers. Much of it centers on the complexity of driving and teens' tendency to speed more and use seat belts less than older drivers.
Also, the teen brain is at a particularly vulnerable point in development. Fifteen- and 16-year-olds have the logical reasoning of an adult, experts say. But their young minds' social and emotional development remains relatively immature and voraciously seeks sensual arousal, novelty and risk.
The teenage brain also is particularly vulnerable to distraction and peer pressure, and is undergoing explosive development. The front portion of the brain—which includes control of impulses, judgment and decision-making, and the coordination of multi-tasking—matures deep into the 20s, research shows.
But veteran driver's education teachers are skeptical about raising the age when a teenager can get a license.
"That's like saying we're not going to let any kid get near a pool or lake or the ocean and the drownings will go down," said Brent Johnston, a driving teacher at Hinsdale Central since 1974. "I think Illinois has gone the proper way—reward the kids who do a nice job and penalize the kids who don't. The teen driving issues are not about age and maturity as much as they are about making good choices and demonstrating exceptional behavior, whether they start that driving experience at 16, 17 or 18."
Added Ken Biggs, chairman of the driver's education department at Schaumburg High School: "Idealistically, I think it'd be great" to raise the minimum age. "But practically? No. There's no mass transit to get to work, to get to jobs."
State Rep. John D'Amico (D- Chicago), who proposed raising the driving age to 18 in 2006, and Secretary of State Jesse White, who proposed many of the reforms enacted this year, said teen driving deaths have continued dropping in Illinois since the laws were strengthened.
Both noted recent Illinois Department of Transportation figures that show 49 teens were killed in motor vehicle crashes through this July compared with 93 who died in the same period last year.D'Amico said he's satisfied for now that the reforms are working but is open to reviving a push for a higher minimum driving age if the improvements stagnate or if deaths rise. Surveys reviewed by the insurance institute show more than 50 percent of adults support higher licensing ages.
Ryan Moore, 16, of Schaumburg got his driver's license in June. He said, "I think it would be better to wait," but he needed his license as soon as possible. Both parents work, and he had to get himself from football practice to his job as a lifeguard.
"I've driven with some people who are horrible drivers even though they've been driving for a while," Moore said. "And I've driven with people who haven't been driving very long but are pretty good. Some people are ready, and some people aren't."
I wrote an essay which is persuasion. I will post what I wrote, but plz help me edit it so that it looks better ..
Plz add some writing tricks and edit it ... I don't think it is interesting. so plz help
Topic :::::: No Driving Licenses for People Under 18
Do you know that one of the leading causes of the death of many teenagers is car accidents? "National Teen Driving Statistics" showed that 16-year-old teenagers are three times more likely to die in car accidents than the average of all drivers. In 2002, 40.8 billion dollar was the estimated economic impact of auto accidents involving drivers who are 15-18 years old. The possibility of parents losing control of their children, the immaturity of teenagers, and the history of the teenagers' accidents and deaths are three main reasons why driving licenses should not be given to people under 18.
First, when adolescents get their driving licenses, parents will not be able to guide them. Most of these children are in high school or in college; they tend to be looking for freedom. As soon as they get their driving licenses, they will have the feeling of being independent and free. This results in more self-confidence than is warranted. Their parents will not have control of their children the way they want. And they will no longer able to guide them the way they want anymore. Matt Sundeen, an attorney and program principal in the transportation program of the National Conference of State Legislatures, reported that "When the children are at the age of 15 or 16, they do not have enough experience in life, and without their parents' guidance, these young people can easily go in wrong directions; to drugs and alcohol, for example." For example, Alicia Betancourt, sixteen years old high school girl, got her driving license. Then she started to go out without her parents knowledge. In June, 2008, she got caught with a group of young boys and girls because of being drugs addict.
Second, adolescents generally are not good drivers because they tend to be childish and less mature. An article written by Garry Boulard, an American journalist and biographer, indicates my hypothesis had some truth in it. Boulard states the "inexperienced teenagers are usually more distracted than other drivers and they are less likely to react quickly to the dangers on the road." Also, young people are known to be adventurous. As soon as they sit behind the wheel, they tend to show off and speed up. This is particularly true of young men. They are prone to take risks. In addition, drivers under the age of 18 distract themselves while driving with various activities, such as messaging, watching videos, and even reading books. Many studies done by Geico, an insurance company, show that drivers between the ages of 15 and 18 are more likely to use the phone while driving than older drivers. Using the cell phone has caused many accidents in the US.
Finally, the most important point is the high number of accidents and deaths of teenagers because of driving. Statistics have shown that teenagers have a higher chance of accidents. According to American Automobile Association (AAA) studies conducted between 1995 and 2004, crashes that involve 15 to17-year-old drivers took the lives of 30,917 people nationwide. It also showed that during the decade of the 1990s, 63,000 youngsters between the age of 15 and 18 died in traffic crashes. This means that more than 120 children die every week. In 2002, the National Center for Statistics and Analysis reported that 8,278 adolescents were involved in fatal crashes. In 2003 alone, teenagers were involved in an estimated 1.5 million accidents. Those studies show that the number of children who die because of car accidents is increasing.
Opponents of the idea claim that these teenagers are old enough to drive a car to school and do their own activities by themselves. Also, they are no longer considered as children. These criticisms are all valid, but they are only part of the story. After reading the statistics and the reasons, there is no intelligent person who will agree with these criticisms.
In conclusion, there are many reasons why people under 18 years of age shouldn't get their driving licenses. The possibility of parents losing control over their children, the immaturity of teenagers, and the history of the teenagers' accidents and deaths are the main reasons. Statistics show that people under 18 are more likely to die than older people. Those accidents could not only kill those teenagers, but also can take the lives of many innocent civilians. Many people's lives might be in danger by giving those immature people licenses to drive. The government should think about the huge risk of giving these children license to drive.