—Alex Klahn, Staff Editor—
Teens can join the military at the age of seventeen, at the age of eighteen they can vote or smoke, and can drink at the age of twenty-one, yet they can begin driving at the age of sixteen. Should the US follow Europe’s lead and raise the driving age to eighteen rather than sixteen years old? This has been a debated topic over the past few years and there are definitely many pros and cons to raising the driving age.
Safety. Safety is the main concern when debating whether the US should raise the driving age requirements. “I am nervous for my son to start driving and be on the road by himself,” says parent Sally Leon. Today teens spend a majority of their time on their cell phones, which is a problem when it is time for them to start driving as it becomes a distraction. Looking down at their phone for just one second can cause an an accident. Texting and driving has become an increasingly prominent issue and has led to accidents, many in which have resulted in death and serious injuries. Along with texting and driving, drinking and driving is a prime cause for many fatal accidents, which is mostly caused by teens who have been out with friends or at a party drinking.
Convenience. Driving at the young age of sixteen allows teens to no longer have to rely on their parents for transportation. Whether it is driving to school or to the mall to hang out with friends, they don’t have to have their parents to drive them everywhere. Not having to rely on for transportation, teens don’t have to change their schedule based on when there is transportation available to them. Besides not have to depend on anyone for transportation, they are also able to help out their parents by running errands or picking things up from the grocery store.
Freedom. With the privilege of driving, teenagers are filled with the feelings of power and independence. They now feel as if they have some sort of control in their life as they are able to decide where and when they can go places. They no longer have to go everywhere with their parents or have to be dropped off places by them. “It makes everything so much easier being able to drive myself places instead of having to ask my mom to take me everywhere,” says teen Katie Leon. They have the freedom to go anywhere anytime that they want without have to rely on anyone for transportation. However with this freedom comes much responsibility that teens may or may not be ready for.
Responsibility. Teenagers tend to believe that driving and owning a car is a right rather than a privilege. In reality, driving is privilege that must be earned and can easily be taken away. At the age of sixteen, teens are irresponsible and haven’t had enough time to mature. They now have the responsibility of paying for gas, taking care of the car, and staying safe on the road. These tasks will teach teenagers how to be independent, which will help to prepare them for college and their future as they have to earn their own money to pay for their car and gas.