Auto safety groups fight to raise the legal driving age from 16 to 18


Karly Ortiz, Commentary Writer

For years, driving has been a long-anticipated rite of passage for 16-year-old kids all around America. Getting your drivers license symbolizes adulthood, and has become a milestone in tons of teenager’s lives. But for years, multiple auto-safety groups have been trying to heighten the age, and now their case is stronger than ever. How many times are they going to propose this idea before they realize how unnecessary it is? Teenagers aren’t the only people who drive recklessly, and it’s unfair to only reprehend the young kids who study for months to earn their license.

Sure, the fact that this is a concern is understandable. The cause of most teenage deaths happen to be car crashes, and studies have shown that raising the legal age to get a drivers license could essentially equal saving lives. There are tons of lives taken by full-grown adults who can’t drive, so why are only teenagers being ridiculed? A lot of people don’t realize that some kids are driving under different circumstances, such as having parents that can’t drive anymore or live too far to walk.

In fact, there are a lot of parents that disagree with the proposition to change the driving age, simply because they trust their kids. Changing the law has been attempted multiple times before, but has never actually worked and it makes me wonder why. The fact is, parents don’t want nor do they have time to take their kids to school, so they aren’t voting for the proposed law and they likely never will.

Not all crashes have to do with teenagers. There are teens out there who are responsible enough to not look at their phones or take their eyes off the road, and there are teens who do so. That fact does not exclude adults. I’ve been in the car with my mom and she checks her phone every time it goes off. That being said, just because a certain percentage of a certain group does it, does not mean they all do it.

Whether you’re sixteen or forty-five, some people are responsible [and] some are not.”

— Mr. Eric Highstreet

According to Mr. Highstreet, AP Economics Teacher and Instructional Coach on Don Lugo’s campus, “Age has nothing to do with someones driving ability.” There are older people who are unsafe drivers, and it isn’t fair to punish young people who’ve worked so hard for this coming-of-age moment. As a solution, the process to get a license could be a bit more meticulous. They could even implement a ‘parole’ period where people are alerted of a new driver (perhaps with a sticker of some sorts.)

It is important to remain safe at all times while driving. If you want to be a ‘cool kid’ and risk everyone’s life by driving without precaution, know that you are the reason kids might have to wait two years before receiving their license.