DAD CHAT: THE DRIVING AGE SHOULD BE 18
4/9/2013 7:18:00 AM
I have more driving anxiety now than I did when I got my license over 30 years ago. WHY? My 16-year-old daughter now has her driving permit. She’s only been on the road once, with my wife, after practicing in the cemetery a few times.
I’m worried about everything. Is she paying attention, going too fast, have her seatbelt on, looking in her mirrors, have the radio on, cell phone turned off???? YIKES. Then there are the other drivers to worry about.
I hate to say it, but I now think the driving age should be raised from 16 to 18. Of course, I didn’t feel that way in 1982 when I got my license at 16 ½, with far less training than they get today. However, there are far more drivers, with far more distractions in today’s world, compared to 1982. I’m sure my parents felt the same about my generation when we were beginning to drive.
What do you think? My wife thinks it should stay at 16 because kids learn quickly, have been getting their licenses at 16 ½ for years and, overall, are quite capable. I’m not so convinced. The brain develops significantly between the ages of 16 and 18. I’m will to wait for that to happen. Please don’t say “but kids have to work” when they’re 16. Drive them or have them take the bus. That should not be a reason for 16 year olds to get their licenses. They can’t vote, get married, drop out of school or rent a car…but they can drive?
CHECK OUT SOME OF THESE STATISTICS!
National Teen Driving Statistics
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:
- In 2010, the latest year for which data are available, motor vehicle crashes were the leading cause of death among 13-19 year-old males and females in theUnited States.
- Thirty-three percent of deaths among 13-19-year-olds occurred in motor vehicle crashes, 39 percent among females and 31 percent among males.
- 16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age.
- The crash rate per mile driven is twice as high for 16-year-olds as it is for 18- and 19-year-olds.
- About 2 out of every 3 teenagers killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2010 were males.
- In 2010, 58 percent of deaths among passenger vehicle occupants ages 16-19 were drivers.
- A total of 3,115 teenagers ages 13-19 died in motor vehicle crashes in 2010. This is 64 percent fewer than in 1975 and 10 percent fewer than in 2009.
- Fifty-nine percent of teenage passenger deaths in 2010 occurred in vehicles driven by another teenager. Among deaths of passengers of all ages, 17 percent occurred when a teenager was driving.
- Statistics show that 16- and 17-year-old driver death rates increase with each additional passenger.
- Eighty-one percent of teenage motor vehicle crash deaths in 2010 were passenger vehicle occupants. The others were pedestrians (9 percent), motorcyclists (4 percent), bicyclists (2 percent), riders of all-terrain vehicles (2 percent), and people in other kinds of vehicles (2 percent).
- Fifty-five percent of motor vehicle crash deaths among teenagers in 2010 occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
- In states with GDL programs that include at least five of the most important elements, there was a 20% reduction in fatal crashes involving 16-year-old drivers.
- In 2006 (latest data available) crashes involving 15- to 17-year-olds cost more than $34 billion nationwide in medical treatment, property damage and other costs, according to an AAA analysis.
- Teenage drivers and passengers are among those least likely to wear their seat belts.
- In 2009, 11 percent of the people who died in distracted driving crashes were teens 15 to 19 years old. Out of all the teens who died in crashes in 2009, 18 percent died in crashes that involved distracted driving. Fifteen percent of teen drivers who were involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash.
- In 2008, 37 percent of male drivers ages 15-20 who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time.
- In 2010, 54 percent, or 1,532, of the 2,814 occupants of passenger vehicles age 16 to 20 who were killed in crashes were not buckled up.
- Among fatally injured passenger vehicle drivers ages 16-17, 16 percent of males and 13 percent of females in 2010 had BACs at or above 0.08 percent. Among fatally injured drivers ages 18-19, 31 percent of males and 22 percent of females had BACs at or above 0.08 percent.
Email me with your comments, thoughts and questions at Hmorse@wror.com