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.
That is really good, I only lasted a year.
Maybe instead of a wholesale "age" rule, there should be some kind of required COMPETENCY test every year before 25, and every year after 70....although that wouldn't cover my friend (age 60) who I refuse to ride with, and have for most of the last 10 years....LOL. Maybe competency tests every 10 years between 25 and 75?
I think 16 is as good of an age to drive as any. I'm sure the insurance companies want it raised. Too bad. They get enough government handouts. Any new driver is going to stink, regardless of age, unless you raise that age to 30.
At age 12 my transportation was a motor scooter, at 14 I bought a 55 Chevy for transportation.
Can't remember what I was driving at 16, but at least I had a drivers license by then.
If they do stupid stuff at 16 a parent can take the keys before something really bad happens.
18 and older parents have less power.
I was driving at 16 and it would have been a very major hardship for myself and my family had I not been able to. Somebody who can't figure out driving at 16 isn't going to make it in life one way or another.
Yeah, but I bet you they pay out tons. Any time I see a safety issue brought up, I tend to doubt that our pal the government is genuine in its motives. Especially when insurance companies would benefit. They lobby really hard, and if they didn't want this, they would be wringing their hands and shouting to the heavens trying to prevent it.
My first car was a '53 Buick Special. I was 13 years old. I drove it in the desert behind our house. It taught me a lot by the time I was able to hit the pavement a few years later. Driving cars is serious business for youngins. Like everything else, parents have to keep a tight hand on the kids. If they just buy them a car because they are of age, well.........
Good Gosh, I was driving in Louisiana at 15. 16 is a good age. For those that want it raised to 17 or18 how in the heck are these kids going to get to all these after school events, sports, jobs, or in fact go on dates and mess around. My mother loved when I could drive. She never had to go to the Grocery store for two years.
There is a cost and great inconvenience to families in raising the driving age,as well as a great loss in freedom, and the quality of life for the teenagers that must wait. As in so many public policy issues, it is a balancing test. Laws which seek living to be a riskless endeavor, strike me as not seriously engaging in such a balancing test. The case needs to be made, taking all factors into consideration.
That would make it worse. The worst drivers there ever were in the world were the generation who switched from horses to cars at age 30 - 40.
Here in Los Angeles, with all the people driving around without licenses it is just darn scary. Neighbors and friends I have known for years are leaving because they have gotten older, and are afraid of many things. One of the biggest is getting around town anymore. Just too many drivers, and too many cars.
Boy it's amazing just how much your attitudes change when you get older.
Raise it to 18, no driving from 9PM to 7AM, and zero tolerance for moving violations.
Harsh, you bet. But I have a fourteen year old daughter, and the thought of her driving in the next two years scares the heck out of me.
Would an extra two years make a difference? Yeah, I think so, esp. when we're talking 16 to 18.
Would I have said this at age 16? Hell no!
Teenagers want to drive. They want to speed. They want to tail-gate. It would be very hard to beat that out of them before they get in a car.
And then there all the geezers driving. But they will keep their licenses, because they vote.
Really? Was that in the 1920s or something? It does make sense.
I was in a similar situation. I drove for 2 years without a license because of some technical difficulty with the state regarding who my legal guardian(s) were lol. For money, I HAD to work, which meant I had to drive. I had no choice. When I was 18 I finally got a license because I was an 'adult'.
My father used to work for the DMV, California. He pulled an old guys license and refused to give it back. The State received a very nast letter from the former drivers son. I'm not sure if my father really should have done what he did, but his supervisor was not very happy with him, and later on, my dad lost his license as well.
I grew up in the country, where most boys were driving on the road by 14. Hell, one owned a Z28 by that time (drove it like a grandma).
If you've got an inexperienced driver behind the wheel then you've got a dangerous situation. Raising that age to 18 won't change that equation.
Things are so different today...my father started teaching me to drive when I was 10, sitting me in his lap and letting me steer. The big malls were closed on Sundays when I was a kid and he would let me drive in the empty parking lot. Later, he would take me to the empty parking lot in winter and I had to practice driving in snow.
I was driving the family tractor on the highway when I was 14, but that was legal for farm kids back then. But my parents didn't allow me to get a drivers license until I was 17. I concur that 16 is too young, but I also think that kids today have an order of magnitude more distractions than when I was a kid. Plus I've seen studies that suggest kids today feel more invulnerable because of air bags and anti-skid brakes, etc, and so take more chances.
Draft them into the Army and send them to Iraq. They'll be safer there. (And more useful when they get out) :-)
The thinking part of a human brain does not mature until 18 for the majority of us. Kids should NOT get their liscense until 18.
Amen Amen Amen! I'm with you!