In the state of Pennsylvania you can obtain a driver’s license at 16 years of age. There are a lot of disadvantages for teens driving at that age. Statistics and research show that their brains aren’t fully develop, they don’t have enough hours or time driving under the different weather conditions, they are more prone to having accidents, and their insurance rates are high. You would think teenagers would be the world’s best drivers. Their muscles are supple and their reflexes are quick. Though car crashes are the leading cause of death more than drugs, guns, violence, or any disease.
The National Institutes of Health conducted a research on brain immaturity of teenagers and how it can affect the driving and their judgment. The study shows that the region of the brain that inhibits risky behavior is not fully developed until about the age 25 which greatly impacts the nations driving laws. Here is a diagram showing how the brain matures from age 5 to 20. This just simply proves how teenagers and there lack of judgment and impulse can improve through maturity by age. Besides the maturity level of the brain of a teenager, another disadvantage is the hours driving under the wheel.
They currently do not have enough hours and time driving under different weather climates to understand how that can affect maturity of their driving. In Pennsylvania, 16 year olds only have to drive for 50 hours and can obtain a junior license after 6 months of driving. So for an example you get your permit in April you can have your junior license in October. What about the winter months? That’s an important month because that’s deals with snow and ice factors. A third disadvantage for 16 year olds are accident rates are high.
Teenagers are four times more likely than older drivers to be involved in a car crash and three times as likely to die in one, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In 2008, PennDOT released an article on: Reminding Teen Drivers to Avoid Distractions While Driving. There was 23,059 crashes involving teenager driving and out of those crashes 194 fatalities. In 2009, Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics show there were 22,473 crashes and 186 involving fatalities. Even though the percentage has gone down a little, that’s still way too many.
Too many teenagers now a days talk and text while driving, continue to eat or drink, don’t wear seat belts, listening to loud music, goofing off with their friends, and have too many friends in the car. Then what happens is you lose focus on the road, the traffic around you, and causes you to have an accident. Which will affect your driving record and your insurance rate will go even higher. Which brings me to the final reason why driving at 16 has a disadvantage is the insurance rates are high. Teenage male drivers are 3 times a higher risk than teenage female drivers.
A 78% statistic shows through Bureau of Highway Safety and Traffic Engineering and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation that more teenage males tend to have accidents. They also like to race each other in streets and tend to get more driving tickets. Even though taking the driving course through your school or driving class may help it still is a high rate. Plus teenagers are under their parents insurance until they reach 18. So if the parent has an excellent driving record and the teenager is careless or has an accident this than affects the parents.
Which I think is unfair. It should affect the teen not the parent. Here are some solutions to all these disadvantages for a 16 year old having a driver’s license in the state of Pennsylvania. Right away I would raise the age to 17. I would than raise the hours of driving from 50 hours to 75 to start. I would also make it that instead of 6 months to obtaining a junior driver’s license; you would have 9 to 10 months until you can obtain one. That way you can be able to learn how to drive under all weather conditions.
I also feel that teenagers should only be able to drive back and forth to work like a bread and butter license until you reach a certain number of hours and your driving record is clean. Change the time frame for allowing teenagers to drive. An example would be from 6 a. m. to 10 p. m. after that someone over the age of 18 would have to drive. The number of passenger’s in a car would be changed to only allowing 1 person under the age of 18 in a car. Since you would have to be 17 now to drive, I would also make it that you can obtain your own insurance policy.
Or, if you or your parents want you under their policy it would only affect you if you get into an accident or get tickets. In some counties they have passed that you can’t text or talk on a phone while driving. They should pass this everywhere. This would all help reduce the accident rates and insurance rates. It is clear that if we could get some new laws passed or raise the age, this would resolve a lot statistics of teenage driving. In return they would be more mature and would make better choices and decisions. REFERENCES:
The Washington Post (2005). The Developing Brain. Retrieved from http://washingtonpost. com DMV. org (2011 September 26). Pennsylvania Teen Drivers Guide. Retrieved from http://www. dmv. org PRNewswire (2011 September 26). PennDOT Reminds Teen Drivers to Avoid Distractions While Driving. Retrieved from http://www. prnewswire. com PennDOT (2009). Pennsylvania Crash Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from http://www. dot. state. pa. us The Daily Local (2011). Maturity Level of the Brain. Retrieved from http://www. dailylocal. com
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