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TinotopiaLog → It’s a wonder the driving age isn’t 35 now (26 Nov 2001)
Monday 26 November 2001

It’s a wonder the driving age isn’t 35 now

The other night, Nicole and I were talking about some of the dumber things that are being done these days to “protect” “children”. I remembered an article I’d seen in the Post some time ago, about changes in drivers’ education. Here it is.

Some of the changes make sense: they point out to students that they shouldn’t pump the brake pedal in cars with anti-lock brakes, for instance. But the article says that they also teach kids to:

Keep the headlights on at all times for better visibility.

Grasp the wheel at 8 o’clock and 4 o’clock to protect arms if the airbag deploys.

The first thing — about the headlights — is at best dubious. I’m not going to talk at length about this, but I’ll just point out that if you’re driving in sunlight, a couple of electric light bulbs are not going to make your car any more visible. If the problem is that people can’t see other cars, why don’t we just mandate flashing orange lights, à la tow trucks, on top of every car? Wouldn’t that increase visibility even more? The problem isn’t lack of visibility, it’s lack of attention.

The second thing — to keep your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel — is entirely absurd. Try this sometime while you’re driving. I have, and I wind up with almost no ability left to control the car. I have searched high and low for any studies that suggest that this is a good idea — that there is, first of all, an actual risk of injury from putting your hands on the steering wheel where they ought to go, and that this is a greater risk than that posed by the limited control you’ve got while holding the wheel down at the bottom — and I have come up with nothing. I think that this movement is the result of meddling parents of the sort who have no better use of their time than to attempt to legislate their children’s safety.

Posted by tino at 12:19 26.11.01
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your very very wrong.

Posted by: justin stagated at December 9, 2002 10:38 AM

i think youre overreacting. so what if people are telling kids to keep their hands at a certain angle on a steering wheel and so what if kids have their lights on all the time. is that really such a crime. i think you need to be focusing a little more on your driving instead of worrying so much about something that doesnt even concern you. get over it.

Posted by: ashley at February 10, 2003 01:29 PM

First of all, I’m going to suggest that if you’re going to take random people to task for their opinions, you bone up on your grammar and punctuation. Whatever argument you’re making, you come across as much more credible if you show that you know that questions should be terminated with a question mark, that contractions need an apostrophe, and that things such as the first word in a sentence and the word ‘I’ are capitalized.

Second, since you cast an aspersion at my driving (without knowing the first thing about it), I’ll tell you: when I was sixteen years old and had been driving for about three months, I drove a car into a telephone pole. I was going a bit too fast for conditions, the road was covered with gravel and dust, and my tires were shot. I have not been in another accident in the intervening fifteen years. I would say that I am a good driver.

I don’t see what that has to do with anything, though.

And third, the point of my original complaint was that kids are being taught to do things that at best do nothing in particular to help (the headlights thing), and at worst create a serious road hazard. You just can’t steer a car very well if you’re holding the steering wheel in as awkward a way as is apparently being recommended now. These people are trading a small risk — than an airbag will injure them — for a much larger one — that they’ll be in a serious accident in the first place. I am as likely as anyone else to be run into by someone who can’t turn their car quickly enough with their arms down in their lap.

Better, in my mind, that these kids should be taught to use their turn signals, follow proper lane usage, etc. — things that the vast majority of drivers, of all ages, seem to not know how to do these days.

Posted by: Tino at February 10, 2003 04:42 PM

Before you even talk about my grammar is Im goining to tell you what I think. Im in eighth grader and we are debating on wether or not the driving age should be raised! In my opinion I think that you just proved my point by saying that you got into a car accident 3 months after you turned sixteen. Am I right or am I wrong? Yep I know Im right!

Posted by: Joanna at April 3, 2003 12:03 PM

Might I ask what you’d like to raise the driving age to?

And I ask you: did I have an accident three months after I turned sixteen, or did I have an accident three months after I got my drivers license?

As it happens, because I got my drivers license very shortly after my 16th birthday, both of those are true. But was the important thing the fact that I was 16.25 years old, or that I’d only been driving for three months?

It’s likely that both of those contributed to the accident. Because of my relative inexperience at driving, I was less able to judge the conditions and accurately assess the danger. Because of my relative youth, I was perhaps more likely to take chances.

Raising the driving age to, say, 18 wouldn’t do a thing for the problem of inexperience: someone who first got his drivers license at age 18 — or 35 — would have no more driving experience three months later than a 16-year-old would.

And I’m not sure that raising the driving age would do much to eliminate the chance-taking behavior that you see in 16-year-olds. People live up to what you expect of them. College students forty years ago, for instance, didn’t drink themselves to death. Now, with higher minimum drinking ages and lower expectations that they will behave as adults, getting drunk — extraordinarily drunk — is one of the main college pastimes. So I’m not sure that raising the driving age would not also raise the “maturity age”.

And, potentially the biggest problem: it has to be considered that since World War II, almost all the building that’s been done in America has assumed that everyone can drive. If you can’t drive a car (because you’re too old or too young, or for any other reason), you’re cut off from almost all of society. Unless you happen to live in one of the few places in this country that’s walkable, you can’t exist as an independent person unless you can drive a car. Now, I don’t think that things should be this way, but it’s the way they are.

Posted by: Tino at April 3, 2003 02:19 PM

I used to think that rasing the driving to 18 would be stupid, but at my school we had to write a report about why the driving age should be raised, and now I think completely different. 16 Is the worst age to drive because at that kids are in the middle of a growth spurt in which their bodies grow faster that their central nervous system. If you have any way to help make a difference please write back!

Posted by: at May 18, 2003 11:29 PM

All of you listen up, i am going to tell you why 16 is much much much better than 18 ).

In the first year of driving, many drivers have accidents, but age is not the chief cause. Statistically, a 16-year-old is nine times more likely to have an accident than the average driver, according to a column by Blair Blazer reporter Sally Sternbach. However, the reason that teens have the highest number of accidents is that they are inexperienced. Increasing the driving age to 18 would simply mean that 18-year-olds would cause the majority of accidents. Experience takes years to gain and cannot be rushed.

According to the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), drivers show the greatest decrease in collision rates between the ages of 20 and 24. This trend demonstrates that it takes approximately four to eight years to gain sufficient driving experience. Increasing the driving age to 18 would simply put inexperienced drivers on the road two years later.

According to the United States Department of Transportation, in 1997 motor vehicle deaths per thousand peaked at age 18. Thus, an 18-year-old, who is a young adult, may in fact be more careless than a teenager under parental supervision. Parents of a 16-year-old must teach their child to drive and then monitor his or her driving. For example, on a rainy night, parents may restrict their child’s curfew or driving privileges as they see fit. The age of driving is not as significant as the parental supervision of the driver.

An 18-year-old is a legal, and often an independent, adult and is not under parental supervision, and therefore loses the “safety net” provided by a protective parent. Even when 18-year-olds live with their parents, parents are less likely to restrict their driving priviledges. As a result, new inexperienced drivers are more likely to be on the road in circumstances which will endanger many. According to the MVA, parents have the ability to negate an underage child’s license when necessary.

Teenagers are anxious for the freedom they gain as new drivers. A learner’s permit may be obtained at 15 years, 9 months. In 1997, 38,868 teens applied for learner’s permits, while only 11,132 waited until they were legal adults. Teenagers want to drive as soon as possible. If the driving age laws changed, it would prompt 17-year-olds to rush out to get permits, instead of 15-year-olds, who are more likely to have someone readily available to teach them to drive.

In their first year of driving, a driver has a provisional driver’s license, which restricts driving between the hours of 12 a.m. and 5 a.m. Regardless of accidents or points on the driving record, this provision is lifted at the age of 18 because the driver is then an adult. This program helps teach young drivers the responsibilities of driving, while still imposing restrictions for protection issues. Giving drivers full benefits at 18 would mean more inexperienced drivers at dangerous hours.

Driver’s education is a state requirement for all drivers under the age of 18 to get a provisional license. Currently, an 18-year-old who is in the process of obtaining a driver’s license is not required to undergo the 30 hours of classroom work and six hours of behind-the-wheel training. Thus, the 18-year-old is, in fact, less prepared to take the wheel than the 16-year-old.

Learning to drive takes perseverance, skill, and education. If the state decides to change the driving age to 18, accidents are more likely to increase. Sixteen year-olds have protection and teachers, two ingredients that allow inexperienced drivers to become good drivers.

Adults are not as fortunate because they are not required to find a teacher and are not protected by parents or the state as younger teenagers are. A new driver who is also a new adult is a dangerous and perhaps deadly combination.

Posted by: Brandon Brauner at May 22, 2003 08:26 PM

i just wanted to thank people for writing it i am doing an assignment on how the age of driving is fine and we shouln’t have to be older and this arguing if you like, has helped me greatly. i thing 16 years is fine and you have to learn sometime so it is better sooner than later.

Posted by: MEL at September 5, 2003 11:32 PM

my mom thinks the driving age should be changed to 21 so kids have more time to mature

Posted by: at November 24, 2003 05:30 PM

i agree withy that person the driving age should be changed to21 or higher because now everybody(teens)espessally think driving is a right but it is actually a privaledge,that needs to be taken seriously./If teens dont take it seriously they could hurt someone or they could hurt themselves.

Posted by: chelsey at November 24, 2003 05:35 PM

I COMPLETELY agree with that guy named Brandon. It makes no sense to raise the driving age. No matter what age it is raised to, you will still have you permit and license for the same amount of time. This means an 18yr old is no more experience than a 16yr old.

Posted by: jesse at December 1, 2003 10:18 AM

What I think is that the driving age shouldn’t be raised any higher than 16.The reason is that anybody can have a lot of crashes, it depends on if you think you know how to drive well then you could still have crashes.

Posted by: brittany at December 6, 2003 09:39 PM

What I think is that the driving age shouldn’t be raised at all.

Posted by: Da Playa at December 6, 2003 09:42 PM

If you do raise the driving age to 18 this would also mean you would gain more experience through drivers ed because you would have a longer time in which to learn from your instructor.

Posted by: owned at December 7, 2003 03:01 PM

u think it should be lower then it is?

Posted by: Mase at February 4, 2004 12:38 PM

I think the driving age should stay the same 16 because it would’nt change any thing if it was change to 18. But when you get your driving license it should link to how well you do in school atill you tern 18.

Posted by: Matt Stewart at February 5, 2004 06:07 PM

ehhh kids c’mon lets get real here…the driving age should be 16 you should be allowed to drive then …if ur not respnsible enuff and mature ur a DUMBASS and thats ur fault..who cares if ur 16 or 18 2 year differece like ur really gunna mature so much…once u start driving you relise that its a privlage and if u dont ur a retard..god damn u ppl are stupid if u think it should be 18, oh yeah really less car accident…ya my ass its all the same if ur a stupid dirver and just wanna drive ofcourse ur gunna crash think about wut u dumb ppl say befroe u put anything up on this thing! and im doing this for a project and im so AGAINST this hole it should be raised shit fuck you im out gangsta

Posted by: Gangsta at February 12, 2004 12:05 PM

actually, gangsta, you sound like you could use some english classes :) go get some, and then come back to talk on the topic before calling anyone stupid.

you said and i quote, “who cares if ur 16 or 18 2 year differece like ur really gunna mature so much” if that’s the case, why not pass laws that state 12 year olds can drive? i mean, it’s only 4 years right? how much more can you mature in 4 years? rolls eyes

brandon, great argument :)

Posted by: su ann at February 12, 2004 01:17 PM

lol i agree that spelling was worse than mine!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: lol at February 17, 2004 09:51 PM

What if we still get the premite at age 15 but raise the drivers age to 18 so kids would have 3 years of experience with the driving instructor and parents.

In Europe they have to drive 10 hours a week for 5 weeks before they can get there licence here you are only required to drive 6 hours which is a big diffrence.

Posted by: Brian at February 19, 2004 08:45 AM

I agree with almost everyone on here. You all bring up valid points, but I still do believe that sixteen is the best time to get your liscense because if you are sixteen, you are still living with your parents which gives you at least one parent with quite a few years of driving experience to help you learn good ways to drive safe.

Posted by: linds at February 27, 2004 03:14 PM

Raising the driving age to 18? That is a little harsh for those of us who are ready to drive. Think about it, if you are inexperienced in the beginning of your driving “career” it doesn’t matter if you begin it at age 18 or age 16. Both ages provide that you will need a learning period.

Let’s all think about something…some students start school early and will go on to college at the age of 17. Their parents would have to drive them to their college classes. Elementary students hate getting driven to school by their parents, what do you think college students will feel.

The law now is perfectly fine but if something HAS to be changed, it should be the amount of drivers ed. Parental supervision and drivers ed has been proven to decrease the number of adolesents in accidents.

I just have to say that Brandon is the #1 debator on here, you are awesome.

Posted by: Kellie at March 3, 2004 07:31 PM

the legal driving age should be brought to at least eighteen! no 16 year old in there right mind should want to drive! sure you’ve been waiting for it for a while, but what would happen if they were involved in a hit and run, are they mature enough to stay and apoligize to the driver. do they even have enough money to pay off the driver if he sues!

Posted by: Kayla Carman at March 10, 2004 06:11 PM


Posted by: at March 15, 2004 12:32 PM

hey, big penis, calm down now. i dont think that you should be talking at all, k? anyways. the law is fine the way it is. it doesnt matter if you’re 16, 18, 35 or 104. YOU WILL STILL CRASH BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO EXPERIENCE OR PRACTICE. if the driving age was raised to 18, then that just means that the 18-year-old crash rate will go sky high. why??? BECAUSE YOU ARE JUST LEARNING AND YOU HAVE NO EXPERIENCE. besides, dont you think that the parents would get a TEENY BIT fed up with driving their kids to all those high school activities? admit it, there’s a lot of them.

My name is cary horan, i’m in 8th grade, and i get at least a LITTLE BIT of a say in this, right? RIGHT?? I SAID, AM I RIGHT???

Posted by: Cary at April 6, 2004 06:00 PM