Teenager Driving Restrictions

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Teenager Driving Restrictions

Teenage driving has become an increasingly controversial topic over the past decade. Many politicians and adults are fighting for stricter driver's license requirements and a higher legal driving age. Busy mothers and soon-to-be drivers argue that things are fine just the way they are. However, when the nation's leading cause of death for teens age 15 to 20 is traffic accidents, things can hardly be considered fine. The need for change is obvious. Something must be done to save the lives of Georgia's teens as well as those of innocent motorists. The Georgia state legislature should impose tougher laws and regulations on teenage drivers under the age of 18.

The freedom to roam that accompanies a driver's license can do a lot more harm than good. One statistic points out that "while drivers under the age of 18 make up about 7 percent of the nation's driving population, they're involved in about 14 percent of the accidents" (Van Slambrouck 5). Most teens are more concerned with looking cool than with driving responsibly. They want to be seen driving while on their cell phones and have the loudest stereos. They impress each other by driving recklessly and being faster than their friends. Running through a yellow traffic light just as it turns red looks cooler than if they were to stop and wait for the next. The driver's license grants access to places the teen may have been restricted prior to obtaining his or her license. Chances the teen will skip school or drive drunk also increase drastically once they have obtained a driver's license.

One method that has proven effective for many states is placing a restriction on the number of passengers that teens are permitted to carry. Often, the passengers in a teen's car are loud and distractful. They impair the driver's ability to focus and drive safely, and they play a large role in contributing to an accident. On the contrary, studies have shown that older and more experienced drivers are actually in less danger of causing an accident while carrying passengers. This shows that the problem is specific to teen drivers. However, it is interesting to note that a male teen's risk level actually decreases when carrying a single female passenger.

A strategy that is very effective if properly administered is the requirement of a learner's permit. A learner's permit must be held for a designated length of time--usually one year--before the driver is eligible for his or her real, or "graduated," license. If the driver retains a clean record throughout the duration of his or her learner's permit and completes the necessary amount of supervised driving time, he or she then becomes eligible for a graduated license. As stated by Peter Spencer, "graduated licensing involves a trade-off of sorts in terms of full mobility for teenagers, but for improved safety it's well worth it" (44). Although this system is currently found in nearly all of the states, it is difficult to enforce. This is because there is no ...
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