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Finalist #5 Megan Nailon

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Essay by: Megan Nailon

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?

 

The statistical facts on accidents among teen drivers have always been higher than the other age brackets and although this is a concern for many reasons I feel raising the minimum driving age would not solve the problem just slide the problem over to the next age bracket.

The number of accidents and the risk of life in each accident is the issue at hand and if we want to address that issue and keep our youth safe, sure you can take driving privileges away but ultimately it won’t make them a better driver.  To address the statists and the fact that there are more accidents with teen drivers we should clearly address the licensing program and curriculum.

Using my state, the state of CT as an example and comparing it to a state I am familiar with NH is what I will use here.  Note the first issue I just described the standards for teen drivers are different in ever state. A teen driver is a teen driver and shouldn’t matter what state they are from, the curriculum for drivers should be nationwide. In CT as a teen driver you can choose to learn from your parents or take a curriculum based course through an accredited program. While you would think the accredited program would be a strong candidate for producing good safe driver’s some are in it for the money as they are profit companies, therefore sometimes it feels you are just paying to purchase a license rather than actually learning how to drive.  To the other spectrum driving with your parents you can not guarantee how much driving is actually taking place and what is being taught. Some parents do a great job while others just don’t take the time.

In CT when a teen driver gets licensed there are lots of rules they must abide by to maintain their driving privileges, 1st 6 months they can only drive alone, 2nd 6 months they can only drive siblings, and after a year they can drive friends. Until the age of 18 they must be off the roads by 11pm. Compare these rules to those in NH, at 16 a teen driver can get licensed on his 16th birthday and be off driving anyone anywhere with no curfew.

Why are the rules and laws so different from different states? The quality of instruction is what will ultimately change the number of accidents teen drivers are having not the age at which they are licensed.  I think CT has the right mentality with the staggered privilege’s after the rigorous instruction and licensing. All drivers no matter what the age should be exposed to a rigorous driving curriculum and have to abide by a step level of earning privileges’ that will produces better more qualified drivers, helping to make our roads a little safer and our teen drivers a little safer.

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