Testing the Legal Limits

The Center of the Disease Control states, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash. The solution is simple: raise the legal driving limit to 18 years old and there will be less teenage related car crashes.

The CDC reports, “Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.” Teenage minds are not fully developed until the age of 25.

At only 16 years old, what is called the “executive branch” of the brain, the part that controls judgment, evaluates risks, and impulsive behavior, is still not fully mature.

The optimal situation would be for teens to still be able to receive their permits at 15 ½ but must wait to get their full license until the age of 18. Driving schools should also raise the minimum required hours of driving that a student must meet in order to pass the class.

This would ensure that the student is getting far more experience behind the wheel with an already experienced driver. Students who have more practice will feel more comfortable without an adult in the car and will be more confident while driving, causing less stress-related accidents.

Many states have put laws in place for 16 year old drivers. Some include how late the young drivers can be out and how many passengers they can carry. Even though this is not raising the legal age, it is in fact intended to lessen the amount of vehicle accidents that are caused by teenage driving.

Attention spans are also disappearing in the minds of today’s high school students. Studies show that when put to a test against other countries, Americans had an average attention span of only three minutes, compared to 15 minutes from other countries. Student drivers are worse.

With almost everything being available at the touch a button, a student’s attention can easily be turned away from the road to check the latest update on a smartphone. If the legal driving age was raised, teenage minds would have more time to grow and attention spans as young drivers become more focused on the road than their phones.

Everyone wants a safer America, and it all starts with who we let on the roads.


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