Thursday, November 26, 2009

Should Nebraska Raise the Driving Age?

There are many milestones. One milestone that most teenagers look forward to is their sixteenth birthday. Most celebrate this milestone receiving a car and the ability to drive it alone, meaning without a licensed guardian. However, many politicians are trying to make these waiting teens wait even longer, by increasing the minimum age a teenager may obtain a full driver license. On top of having a longer wait to get a full license, politicians are placing restrictions on young drivers.
Although Nevada was one of the last states to place restrictions on young drivers, in 2006, it has the some of the strictest laws to prevent reckless driving by teens. Some of their laws include a 10 p.m. curfew, fifty hours of supervised driving, and for three months the new driver is prohibited to transport any passengers. An eighteen percent drop in teenage collisions has proven the new laws successful and helpful in the effort to prevent teenage reckless driving.
New Jersey, so far, is the only state to raise the minimum driving age. Instead of sixteen, teenagers now must wait one more year until they can begin driving unsupervised. New Jersey has seen a great drop in the number of fatal teen crashes. In a 1992-1996 study between neighboring states New Jersey and Conneticut, Connecticut, with its minimum driving age of sixteen, had twenty fatal crashes for every one hundred thousand drivers. While, New Jersey on had four fatal crashes for every one hundred thousand drivers, with its seventeen minimum driving age. So a new sixteen year-old driver in Connecticut is five times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a new seventeen year-old driver in New Jersey. The study also showed that, after a graduated license law was passed, the percent of fatal crashes decreased thirty-three percent in New Jersey.
A factor that congress is taking into consideration is distractions a driver faces. Now, 21 states and the District of Colombia have strict laws forbidding new drivers to use their cell phones to text and talk while driving. A young driver is already distracted with other things, such as the radio or rowdy passengers, they don't need more distractions. While texting and driving a teenager is not focusing on the task at hand, which is to get to point A to point B. Cell phones are already considered a driving distraction to most driver, they are even more distracting to teenagers. The risk of being in a fatal crash is doubled when a young driver has one teenage passenger in the car with them. The risk is increased to five times when a teenage driver has two of more teenage passengers in the car.
Some auto makers are helping with reckless driving. Next year, in 2010, Ford Motor Company will feature a new technology that will help keep reckless driving by teenagers low. A special chip inserted in the key will help parents set a maximum speed limit the teenage driver may travel. The chip can also set a volume limit on the audio system and alert the driver when they aren't wearing their seat belt and pass the speed of forty-five, fifty-five, and sixty-five miles per hour. The new technology will debut in the 2010 model of the Ford Focus. Some scientists have also created a new chip that can be plugged into any car. The chip records mileage, speeds traveled, and any sudden starts or stops. It will also record if the driver unplugs the chip.
I think allowing teens to drive at the age of fourteen is way too young. I think the Nevada driving laws are the best, except for the 10 p.m. curfew. Some of my activities don't even let out at 10. I think if Nebraska was to change the age one could get a driver licenses, seventeen would be better than the age of eighteen. Some kids don't even graduate at eighteen, which would make getting to school difficult if a bus didn't come in close proximity to one's house. I think it is up the parents to decide if their child is ready to drive and teach safe driving. Some of my friends have cameras in their cars which help them drive more responsibly because whatever they do, their parents will see it.
-Cap N Crunch


Scrubs said...

I think that 16 is a perfect age to start driving. I think that 16 is when students should get their permits and have them for 6 months or 50 hours of driving time before they can go test for their liscenses. I agree 14 and even 15 is too young but 16 is just about the right time to start driving.

Mister T said...

In Nebraska, yes 16 is a good age to drive. This is because, frankly, there isn't a whole lot for reckless teenagers to hit. Even in the craziest rush hour traffic of Omaha or Lincoln, the highways aren't very clogged. (With the exception of a Nebraska home football game.) Especially outside of Omaha and Lincoln, what is there to hit? A hay bale? However, in other states, such as New Jersey or regions like eastern Kentucky, the driving age should, and often is, be higher than 16. I would be pretty nervous to drive with a 16 year old on the Kennedy expressway in New York. In eastern Kentucky, the roads wind so much, that you can drive off the road and fall off a mountain. In fact, my cousin, who lives in eastern Kentucky, was riding with his friend home from a away basketball game, when his friend couldn't see the road, and next thing he knew, their car plunged 20 feet off a cliff. It was a miricle that my cousin survived and only tore his ACL. In Nebraska, the driving conditions are relatively safe for a 16 year old to drive on, but in other states, not so much.