William Long Whitesell, L.L.C.

Is raising the legal driving age a worthwhile solution?

Tragically, teen drivers have very high fatal accident rates. There are those who suggest that the only real solution to the problem is to stop giving 16-year-old kids the keys to the family car.

But would raising the age be wise? Would it help? Below are a few key things that must be considered.

Brain development

Brain development doesn't stop until well into early adulthood. Teens have problems with emotional stability, consequence prediction and impulse control. This suggests that they are fundamentally more dangerous on the roads, though it's no fault of their own.

Freedom and obligations

Many parents and teens look forward to a child's 16th birthday. The teen wants more freedom, while the parent doesn't want the obligation of driving the teen to every sporting event, after-school activity and social gathering. If the age was increased, that just means more years of obligation for parents and less freedom for teens.

Limiting distractions

Many teen accidents happen because of distractions, like texting and driving. Would it be better to focus on limiting distractions, rather than moving the driving age?

Teens have no experience

Many accidents can be traced back to a lack of experience. It's not that the driver is 16, it's that he or she has only been on the road for a few weeks. Moving the driving age wouldn't change that. The inexperienced and dangerous drivers would just be older.

One thing is clear: The risk from young drivers is there for everyone who takes to the roads in Georgia. If you're hit and injured, or if a loved one is killed, you must know all of the legal options you have.

Source: The News Wheel, "Should the Legal Driving Age Be Raised? 10 Points to Consider," accessed Dec. 22, 2017

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