Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Raising the driving age in the U.S. is a dumb idea.

Here's why raising the driving age is a dumb idea:
  1. Experience: Nothing makes up for sufficient experience. Raising the age will simply push back the age at which experience related accidents occur. Instead of 16-18 year olds having such crashes, it will be 19-21 year olds.
  2. Responsibility: If someone is not responsible enough to drive at 16, will they really become that much more responsible at 18? At 21? I think it's doubtful. If a person doesn't understand the potential hazards and liability of operating a machine weighing 3000lbs and capable of going over 100MPH, then they should not drive regardless of age.
  3. Current driving laws: How well do current laws protect young drivers? Does the existing level of enforcement really stop delinquents and other trouble makers from driving? Does raising the age punish young people who ARE responsible enough to safely operate a motor vehicle?
  4. Education: If someone has not been trained sufficiently in the safe and proper operation of a motor vehicle, then it is pretty certain that they will present risks to others. This is true no matter what the age of the person is. Also if a person is educated outside of high school, what guarantees that the cheapest option is up to par? (Not everyone has the money available.) Also if insufficient education is the current root of accidents among young drivers, why? What can be done to improve existing driver's ed? On another education aspect, what role do private driving schools have in influencing legislation? Are they lobbying to push back the age? They obviously would benefit from a raised driving age.
  5. Other options: Why not offer closed driving facilities where one can release any pent up reckless urges? Such facilities should be reasonably affordable. (Rich kids already have this option, why not the average Joe?) In addition to a nominal fee, having a vehicle inspection, an insurance deposit, and a waiver should accomodate liability. I belive such operations have worked well and somewhat safely in Germany.
There should be some good answers to these questions before the issue of raising the legal driving age is brought up.

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