Driving: A rite of passage or a dangerous risk?

For many, getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage, but would you compromise your life for it?

In North Carolina, the average teen gets their license at the naive age of 16. In the past, teens have rejoiced over this, usually celebrating, but now teens are saying “No thanks” to this piece of plastic. They may be making the right choice because according to the CDC, “Young people ages 15-19 represented only 7% of the US population. However, they accounted for 11% (10 Billion) of the total costs in motor vehicle injuries.”

Safety is not the only concern with teens having their licenses earlier. With less cars on the road, pollution is reduced greatly. Also, since teens will need other ways to get around, public transportation could become more important. In a lot of European countries, like Germany or France, public transportation is a key part of everyday life. Another positive effect of public transportation is that traffic levels would be lowered. A larger bus can fit many more people in it than three cars alone. If it was mainly buses or bikes using the streets, then road congestion would not be such an issue. Public transportation is even safer because it can reduce head-on crashes on the road. Studies have also shown that public transportation can be better for your health. Transloc.com says, “Individuals who use public transportation get over three times the amount of physical activity per day of those who do not (Approximately nineteen minutes, instead of six).”

Even a few of our Apex students have something to say about students getting our licenses later. Sophomore Sofia Davidson says, “I think that the driving age should be raised because a lot of accidents are caused by young drivers because they are not mature enough yet to drive. I think that by the age eighteen, most kids have been matured enough to be given the privilege to drive and that the accident rate will decrease because of their maturity level.” Our very own librarian, Mr. Summers, says that in New Jersey, where he was raised, that “The permit age is sixteen, you get your “Cinderella” license at seventeen (have to be in by twelve), and your full license at eighteen. This wasn’t in place when I was going through the driving process, but from what I have seen it has lowered the teen car crash rate tremendously.” This makes sense because “The crash risk is particularly high during the first months of licensure. The crash rate per mile driven is three times higher for sixteen-seventeen year olds as compared to eighteen-nineteen year olds,” according to the CDC.

Other students were not so happy to hear that an article was being written on this topic, calling it “hypocritical.” Sophomore Zoja Tomkova says that we should keep the driving age the same saying, “I think the driving age should not be raised because of job opportunities and extracurricular activities. For example, if you want to take Wake Tech classes, you need to be able to drive yourself or if you want to get a job.” However, if we were to highlight public transportation more in this country, we would be able to get around a lot easier, especially on college campuses.

All in all, we would have many more postive results from the driving age being raised. Safety and lowering the amount of fatalities caused by teen drivers being first and foremost, but also paying mind to the environment and the space around us. By raising the driving age, North Carolina will be a safer and healthier state.

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