Subject: What can we do to reduce auto-collisions on our Nation’s highways?
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? It is no secret that motor vehicle crashes are higher among teen drivers in the United States. However, the problem is much bigger than some might expect. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “in 2013, six teens ages 16-19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.” Although it is true that raising the minimum driving age is certainly going to help lower the number of motor vehicle crashes, raising the minimum driving age alone is not going to be enough.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.” Some people argue that teens ages 16-19 are obviously the ones at greater risk of motor vehicle crashes because they are the least experienced. Even if the minimum driving age were raised, the youngest drivers would still be the ones at greater risk of motor vehicle crashes. However, raising the minimum driving age would definitely reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes because teenagers ages 16 to 19 are more prone to making reckless mistakes while sitting behind the wheel than their older counterparts. Teens ages 16 to 19 have a greater tendency to underestimate or not recognize dangerous situations. They often speed up and allow little distances between the vehicle they are driving and the ones in front of them. In 2012, 35% of the drivers ages 15 to 20 who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding and 25% were under the influence of alcohol. Likewise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. In 2013, only 55% of high school students reported they always wear seat belts when riding with someone else.” Cellphone use while driving is another factor that could also explain why teens are accountable for a disproportionate number of motor vehicle crashes. This sheds light on the fact that raising the minimum driving age would significantly help lower the number of motor vehicle crashes because by raising the minimum driving age, rather than making the riskiest drivers a little bit older, we are placing mature individuals that can make better decisions on the road.
Some people argue that it is not necessary to raise the minimum driving age. Nevertheless, the minimum age to possess or consume alcohol has been raised to 21 years of age. In the same way, the minimum age to smoke tobacco in New York has been raised to 21 years of age. If the minimum age for the consumption of these harmful substances, where only the consumers are affected, has been raised to 21 years of age, then why shouldn’t the minimum driving age be raised as well? Driving not only puts at risk the person behind the steering wheel, but also the surrounding drivers and pedestrians. Some people argue that raising minimum driving age is not the real solution but rather increasing training hours. However, increasing training hours is not enough. A teenager between 16 and 19 years of age may practice driving with dedication, but if the teenager is irresponsible and speeds up or drives without a seatbelt or under the influence of alcohol, all that he or she has learned becomes worthless. In the same way, even if a person is
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