The Risks Of Teen Driving

A pair of teens drive. Labeled for Reuse by Creative Commons.

A pair of teens drive. Labeled for Reuse by Creative Commons.

Turning sixteen is an exciting moment for many teens. At this age, teens can get a driver’s license and it’s a milestone towards adulthood. They have gained control, as well as earned a sense of freedom, one they have never had before.

However, more freedom could be a recipe for disaster if the teen is not well educated.

The U.S. has one of the lowest minimum driving ages. In some states, a permit can be issued to a fourteen-year-old and they can have their license as soon as fifteen. This is highly uncommon in many other countries such as Brazil, France, Taiwan, and Japan who have their age limit set at eighteen.

With this being said, the question has been raised, is it safe for teens to be driving at such a young age?

Imagine being a teenager who has just gotten their license. You can now go where you want and no longer have to have the restriction of needing an adult with you. You decide to pick up your friends for school one morning. Would you still follow the rules of driving like when you were being tested on them? 

“I’ll admit when I would drive with my friends in the car we had a great time. We would joke around and sing along to old Disney songs. At the time I didn’t think I was putting anyone else at risk but looking back one mistake could have easily gotten us hurt,” stated junior Madison Mestas.

In addition to this, another common distraction for teens is their cellphones. To send a quick text message or change a song playing, a few seconds are wasted not looking at the road, which can be crucial to prevent an accident. While looking at their phone the driver may not see someone merge into their lane or see a light turn red, which in fact can cause more issues if the driver does not notice it in time.

“I was in the car with my friend and he had looked down to change the song on his phone and the light had turned red. I had waited for him to start slowing down but when he didn’t I had to tell him to stop. I could only imagine what would have happened if I wasn’t in the car,” noted junior Daisy Nelson.

It is true that accidents can happen to anyone but teens are more likely to get involved because there are so many factors that play into how safe teens drive. Yet, there are of course exceptions to this. Some teens still follow all of the rules as if still being tested, no matter who is in the car, since they understand it is the right thing to do.

“I always follow the rules because I feel so guilty if I don’t. The few times I cut someone off I always apologize verbally even though they can’t hear me,” commented sophomore Emma Duncan.

There is no doubt that driving is one heavy responsibility for teens to have, but it is part of the learning process towards adulthood. From the incorporation of more police to prevent dangerous behaviors and parents who help educate teens on driving, teens reduce the chances of putting their own lives, as well as others in danger.