Skip to comments.Too young to drive? (Is 16 to young to drive)
Posted on 05/19/2006 8:32:12 PM PDT by devane617
May 18, 2006
Albany -- There is talk of raising Georgia's driving age to 17 or 18.
Why? Because so many teenage drivers are killing themselves-- and others. Six thousand teen fatalities in the United States last year. The biggest threat to their well-being seems to be distracted driving. So what can we do to protect them from themselves?
Teens behind the wheel give new meaning to multi-tasking. Phones, CD players, and friends, distract young drivers-- who can least afford it.
Stephanie Phillips has, not one, but two teenage girls. 16-year old Amore is already driving. and 15-year old Charity is just beginning. Stephanie worries about driving distractions. "They're young and they're carefree, and nothing can happen, they think."
They think, but they're wrong. "The accident rate has been basically off the scale." Bill Hammack is the continuing education director at Albany Tech and is in charge of the driver's education program. "They lead the pack when it comes to, statistically, more of them get injured and killed than any other category of people that drive in the United States."
Every day, he and his instructors try to convince teens the importance of focusing on their driving. "Driving is a full-time endeavor, not something that you can pay attention to part of the time. You've got to be on top of the game all the time when you're driving."
In Albany Tech's driver's ed classes, students spend 40 hours learning the rules of driving. "Most of them, believe it or not, know how to drive. The big challenge is getting them to pay attention to what they're doing when they're driving," says Hammack.
What they're doing when they're driving, he says, is the problem. "Cell phones, I-Pods, changing CDs in their dash player, all those things are big distractions."
Big distractions that worry Stephanie Phillips. "The thing is not getting so caught up in the fun activities going on in the car with your friends, you know, the radio going, the dancing.
So, like many other parents, she has rules. "Seat belts are a must for every person in the car. No speeding. Be off your cell phone, which I think is probably one of the hardest to abide by."
And she's right. "With the cell phone issue, I mean, I answer my cell phone because it rings, and my cell phone is, like, my life," said Amore'.
"Cell phones are right at the top of the list. Or, right now, it's called distracted driving," said Hammack. Distracted driving that we, as parents, are partly responsible for. "I think we have failed. We have not built that pay attention factor into driving because we've been guilty of it ourselves."
So what can be done to make teen drivers safer? "Senate Bill 226 states all 16 year olds must have completed driver's ed before they can be licensed in the state of Georgia," said Hammack.
Beginning January 1st, driver's ed classes will be mandatory to get a Georgia license. "If they don't understand the hazards and how to recognize them, they're never going to be in the position to minimize those hazards or avoid them altogether," he said.
Avoiding hazards is something Amore Brock knows about. "You gotta be aware of that and be aware of your surroundings because anything can happen even if you're doing everything right."
And everything right includes buckling up. "It's just standard, you know. It's seatbelt on and you know if the person beside me doesn't have it on I make sure they have it on," says Charity.
Right now, there are more than 4,000 14 to 16 year olds in Dougherty and Lee Counties alone. They'll soon be on the roads, driving. That affects us all. That's why it's up to us all to help them. "Everyone that comes in contact with these youngsters has got to make them see somehow that the hazards are there and those hazards are 'gonna bite you if you don't accept responsibility as an adult driver," says Hammack.
Adult driving responsibilities that may one day be reserved for adults. "I can see the driver's age, if things don't get better soon, maybe going to 17 or 18 years of age before they're even allowed to drive."
If that happens, Georgia will become the strictest state in the nation for teen driver's licenses. A law change that won't affect the Brock girls, but it could well be the key to saving young drivers' lives.
Well with the current crop I can't say I blame them. I'm only 25 and I don't care much for teenagers today. When I go to any social setting there's always some 15 or 16 yr old idiot making an ass of himself along with several other friends.
It's cool to be a retard nowadays.
Can we take away old peoples licenses too? The Elderly are the WORST drivers.
Oh shoot, they can vote...nevermind.
I will talk about raising the minimum when they set a maximum :-)
It really depends on the person but generally speaking, I agree with you. As bad as parents today seem to be, a kid shouldn't get behind the wheel until they are old enough to buy beer.......
17 with restrictions.
Too young to drive depends on the individual.
Many are capable at 9 or 10. Some are never ready.
I think the driving age is fine at 16 and accidents are caused by 1st year drivers no matter what their age.
Raise it! There is a lot of maturity difference between 16 and 18! And require a GED or diploma as well. If they want to vote, make them at least responsible enough to test out of high school.
I started driving on my own when my feet could reach the pedals and I could see over the wheel. :)
I agree about the max age also. I just left Florida after living there for two years. It gives a whole new meaning to defensive driving.
I think it should be lowered.
I got my learners permit at 14 (90 days before 15) and my license at 15. I was a hazard to myself and everyone on the road until probably 18 or so.
A 16 year old has no concept of the finality or the potential consequences of their behavior.
I think a permit at 16 (to drive only with a parent or guardian), and a permit that does not require a parent at 17. This permit can be revoked at any time for any or no reason at all.
I got into an accident on my first night out alone. A lady slammed on her brakes in front of me at a light that had just turned yellow, and I TAPPED her bumper. Two years later a magistrate comes to my house with legal papers from where she was suing me for $150,000. She settled with my insurance for $9,000.
God, amen to this. I didn't much care for my peers when I was a teen and now I can't stand the little misanthropes. My teachers, at the time, assured me that the behavoir of my classmates was merely cyclical and that things would swing back to more reserved behavior in time...yeah, right.
I'm not sure age is as important as maturity. Some 16 year olds are fine, then again some 20 year olds are not. I favor a stricter permit process and tough rules before granting a permanent license.
Young people are dangerous because they lack experience. So yeah, let's raise the driving age and keep them from getting that experience.
Meanwhile the most dangerous people on the road are old people who can't see. But if you try to cap the driving age they'll sue and vote you out of office.
Welcome to liberal land - where the law only applies to certain people. :)
Too much Lobby money from auto makers, and auto insurance companies for this to ever change.
If you're able to pass the 'Patrick Kennedy' Driving Test, then you should get a license.