Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Is Sixteen Too Young To Drive?

This is the question state governments discuss when trying to evaluate the drivers license issuance. Every few years some state’s legislatures including my state of Tennessee try to vote to try to raise the legal age to begin driving a car. In most states the age now to get a learners permit is fifteen and the age to get your drivers license when you can drive alone is sixteen. It has been like this for many decades but now they are debating a change in the law.Is-16-Too-Young-to-drive

The rationale is the older you are…. the more mature you are. The problem with this thinking is that not everyone matures at the same rate. I know people who are sixteen times two and are still immature. I see thousands of teenagers in our Driver Education class and they are not all the same in their maturity even though they are the same age. If you are a parent you know how different one child is from another and how they go through stages at different times.

I was asked by the Tennessean newspaper if I though sixteen is too young drive. I told them that it is for some kids and not for others. The government has a problem when they lump everyone together in one basket, but unfortunately that’s what governments do. In a couple of states that have actually raised the age a year or two the accident rate has gone down a bit. The problem is the people who are being mature behind the wheel and who are trying to be a safe driver are being put in the same category as the immature uncaring drivers. The kids tell me this is unfair to the good drivers and they are right. You should have heard the weeping and gnashing of teeth when I told my almost sixteen year old students that this was being debated in our state and if it passed they would have to wait another year to get their license. I had to remind them not to shoot the messenger (or egg his house) when I delivered the possible grim unthinkable news. I told them the best way for the legal driving age not to be raised is for them to act maturely behind the wheel and not cause an accident when they are sixteen so there will not be a reason to raise it.

The best way you can show the legislators you are old enough at sixteen to drive is to not cause a traffic accident and don’t get tickets. The best way to do this is to follow the rules of the road and to not text and drive. I would tell parents to police your child’s driving so the real police don’t have to. In my opinion the parents would be the best judge of their child’s maturity. They know them better than anyone else. If you know your son or daughter is not mature enough to be driving a car alone, then you the parent should raise their driving age. Then the government won’t have to.

Is Sixteen Too Young To Drive?