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Finalist #3 Madison Conner

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Essay by: Madison Conner

Essay Subject: Teen drivers account for a disproportionate number of motor vehicle crashes. While the reasons for this are varied, some observers believe that raising the minimum driving age would help address this issue, while others believe it would simply make the riskiest drivers on the road a little bit older. With whom do you agree and why?

I would say that raising the minimum driving age would not solve the problem entirely. Regardless of how old a person is when they begin driving, it is not a skill that comes with age. This is why there are restrictions on new drivers when they get their license, having to wait six months to drive with others in your car allows the new driver to learn the ropes of driving.

Looking at this more rationally, people need to take a class and various tests in order to get their license. Similar to a class you would take in school, the content of the class isn’t just something you learn as you get older, it has to be taught and tested on.

That being said, the earlier drivers have this knowledge implemented, the more experience they will gain before perfecting the art of driving. That’s not to say that people should start driving when they are ten years old, because teenagers should have to gain experience to provide a sense of responsibility.

What I am trying to say is that there has to be a happy medium between youth and wisdom developed through experience. Because what good does raising the age do, if it only means that new drivers have to learn the same material? Being older and sitting through a class on how to do something, and then having to get out on the road and doing it wouldn’t help solve any problems.

An example of this concept is learning how to swim. There are people who never took swim lessons or got hands-on experience with swimming when they were young. Those people in the long run can be 18 and still not no how to swim, because developing this skill does not come with age, and even when you get older and older the face that there was no experience with this ability restrict you from learning it at all.

Another example of this would be learning how to cook. Learning how to cook can happen at any age and takes years and years of practice to perfect no matter what age you begin the process at. Driving should be approached the same way.

I believe raising the minimum driving age would actually hurt us a society in the long run. At sixteen we are getting jobs and have activities to attend so having a license is extremely beneficial. Many high school level jobs start at food delivery so not having a license would limit what kids could do for work.

I also believe as you get older it becomes harder and harder to properly learn how to do something. Take tumbling for instance. Learning how to do a cartwheel at a young age is easy due to the lack of mind block but as you get older you see the risks of doing it therefore making it nearly impossible to complete the tasks. Another example of that would be math. At a young age as long as you pay attention learning math is easy but if you try to learn later on it is harder to catch on.

Although driving as teens is rather unsafe due to all the distractions we give ourselves, there is no way to completely avoid it.

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