Not so fast – Should the teen driving age be increased?

Changes in various state legislatures could help keep our roadways safer. Many parents are urging lawmakers to up the driving age of teenagers due to their number one killer – motor vehicle accidents.

Washington, D.C. ( – News report) – It is shocking that there are more than 6,000 teen deaths due to motor vehicle crashes each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and many worrisome parents are hoping their children do not add to those statistics. Parents are anxious and concerned, not only about the hazards of the roads, but also how to afford the high insurance premiums that follow once a 16-year-old is added to the insurance.

The good news is that there has been a recent decline in the number of teens obtaining learner’s permits and driver’s licenses has decreased immensely over the past ten years. Even though it still seems incredibly easy for a 15 year-old to receive his permit, and a 16-year-old to receive his license, this beginning to change. One family voiced how ridiculous this was. Her daughter at that age could not possibly be well equipped with the skills needed to drive properly, never mind avoid an accident. Thankfully, 45 states have listened and recently imposed three-stage requirements, including an intermediate stage after the learner’s permit, before a full license is granted, taking teens longer amounts of time to complete the process. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports “the reduced licensing rate among the youngest potential drivers has cut the rate of fatal accidents in the 16-year-old population as a whole.” And since 1993, the amount of fatal car crashes among all 16-year-olds, drivers and non-drivers, had declined by 26%. he Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a research group funded by the auto insurance industry is pushing for the driving age to be raised to 17 or even 18.

This is met with support and opposition from both sides. Those who disagree with this, contest that it is a burden to chauffer their children around and it in turn, makes them less responsible. Many driving programs have found ways to decrease accidents without raising the driving age. The Delaware Office of Highway Safety has chosen to ban teens from using cell phones while driving; impose stricter driving curfews and expand supervised driving time. Although these methods would help, the research can speak for itself. New Jersey is the only state that issues licenses at age 17. Various studies have shown that the overall rate of teens killed in crashes in New Jersey has been consistently lower than in some nearby states. It is a step in the right direction for the states to impose this new system, especially when looking at the statistics of fatalities and injuries. The bottom line is that these kids need more experience. Proper training and safe experience will only make our roads more and more safe.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety & National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Written by: Jana Simard – Legal News Reporter –

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