Sweet 16 does not equal Safe Driving

The minimum age to receive a provisional licence is 16, posing a safety hazard for all on the road


Cartoon by Alexa Gamo

Turning 16 and acquiring a license opens up a vast world of opportunity to venture into the open roads. This common rite of passage, however, comes at an immense cost. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, accidents alone are the leading cause of death among teens. For this reason, there is only one plausible solution: to raise the legal driving age to 18 throughout the United States.

It is undeniable that raising the minimum age to obtain a license would spark outrage among the teen community, but all that outrage might just be worth it to save their lives.

Despite teens driving the least miles out of all age demographics, the rate of deaths per mile is two times higher among 16-17 year olds than 18-19 year olds, according to the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Car insurers have noticed these statistics and raised prices for younger drivers.

“The more likely you are to be in an accident, the higher the rates are and what we find is that young people, ages 16 to 22, pay the highest rates because they are the ones most likely to be involved in an accident,” assistant principal Scott Sodorff said.

The majority of teens’ deadly collisions can be attributed to driving at unsafe speeds and driving while distracted by cell phones or other technology, which stems from adolescents’ undeveloped brains. The 16-year old brain is not fully developed, which explains why teens can’t vote, drink, smoke, or serve their country until they turn 18, and with that logic should also prevent teens from driving.

Driving at 18 may seem like an arbitrary age selection, but the ‘magic number’ has worked to greatly reduce accidents around the world and even in the US. In countries such as Pakistan, Spain, Switzerland, and Brazil, where the legal driving age is 18, the higher driving age has led to lower accident fatalities. New Jersey also recently raised the driving age to 17, dramatically reducing the number of accidents. Turning 18 also marks the official entrance into adulthood, where you are granted greater citizen rights, therefore making the age a perfect time to get a license.

“I think at 18, people have more of an opportunity to understand not only their opportunity as a driver but are also more mature and make better decisions,” parent of a young driver Sandi Ames said.

“Driving is a massive responsibility and at this stage in students’ lives and maturity levels, we’re not capable of taking on such a risk,” sophomore Kyla Nelson said.