Why Should 16-Year-Olds Not Drive
For many teenagers, a driver’s license serves as a rite of passage with the car keys serving as their gateway to independence. While that is understandable, 16-year-olds might not be fully equipped to handle the responsibility of driving an automobile. It has been established that teens do not have all the tools to enjoy the level of driving responsibility that adults can. A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has shown that teen drivers aged between 16 and 19 are almost 3 times more likely than older drivers to be involved in a fatal accident. Scary stuff! Let us not forget that driving can be an exhausting and stressful experience for most of us on the road, and hence more so for teens that do not reflect the same level of maturity and patience as their senior counterparts. It is our responsibility to help teens become skilled and careful drivers whether that is through the use of a driving contract, or graduated driver licensing. Although the laws in many states say 16 is the correct age for a teen to acquire a driver’s license, we have compiled a list of 10 reasons why 16-year-olds should not drive.
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Related Article: How To Track Someone’s Car (Without The Knowing!)
Top 10 Reasons Why 16-Year-Olds Should Not Drive
- Increased Number of Passengers: As per the Center for Disease Control (CDC), risks of accidents spike when teens are accompanied by other teens while driving. Approximately 2 out of 3 teen crash fatalities where the driver is a 16-year-old take place when the novice driver is accompanied by one or more young passengers. It is recommended that no passengers should be allowed to accompany your teen in the initial months after they receive their license.
- Drugs and/or Alcohol Abuse: Understandably, this is a zero-tolerance concern. If you truly care about your 16-year-old, make sure you do not look the other way if you come across them consuming drugs or alcohol. Your child should know that they can always rely on you if they ever find themselves in situations where they are pressured to drink or do not have a safe ride home. It is illegal to drive while drunk, and there is no tolerable blood alcohol content level in drivers who are under the legal drinking age, which is why we take this with utmost seriousness.
- Ignoring Road and Self-Safety: For some reason or another, seat belts are considered to have gone out of fashion in the younger generation. While you cannot monitor every action of your teen on the road, wearing a seatbelt and following the relevant road safety guidelines is one rule that you must enforce. Wearing a seat belt can greatly improve your odds of averting serious injuries during an accident. Make sure you remind your child of this, and model wearing a seatbelt yourself every time you drive.
- Nighttime Driving: Nighttime driving, or driving with low visibility, requires a lot of prior driving experience and increased maturity, both of which teen driving lacks. So it is no surprise that a fresh teen driver on the road in the dark is a bad idea as it is sure to lead to distracted driving. As per the CDC, a nighttime fatal crash involving 16-year-olds are almost twice as high as daytime crashes. Therefore, it is important to reduce the amount or eliminate the number of times a teen can drive at night.
- Sleepy Driving: If your 16-year-old looks to be fatigued, or if you know that they have not gotten a good night’s sleep, then it is your responsibility to make sure that they do not get behind the wheel. Teens should be encouraged, more than anything, to get a continuous 8-hour sleep if they intend to drive the next day. You could accomplish this by leading by example. Try to get continuous sleep every night yourself so that your teen could look up to you. Falling asleep while driving is the leading cause of death and should be avoided at all costs.
- Using Their Phones While Driving: It is not unusual to see every teen spending most of their time on their phone. And while these phones are a great way for teens to keep in touch with friends and family members, teens should be discouraged from texting or calling when driving, even if that call is directed to their parents. These are not the only safety concern, they should also be told to not fiddle with the stereo system, nor engage in animated discussions with fellow passengers while driving, since such distractions greatly raise the risk of accidents.
- Driving Without License: As soon as a teen turns 16, they are ready to step out and enjoy the newfound independence that this age and a car brings. However, many times this means that teens would not sit around and wait for their license, but rather drive out the second they get the opportunity or when one of their friends gets a license. In addition to being illegal, this is highly dangerous and can cause hurt to the child as well as others on the road. Teens who intend to begin driving should first undertake a thorough driver’s education program, and get their learning permit before they practice to clear their driving test.
- Damaged Car: If your 16-year-old’s motor vehicle is starting to look like it has been hurt more than a couple of times, it could imply that your teen is not adopting the necessary safety precautions. Small dents are not uncommon to see on vehicles, especially when a car has to be parked for a long duration in a parking lot like at school or work. However, your teen should know that you have an eye on everything that goes on with the car and if something happens it is not going unnoticed. If the situation worsens, you have to let your teen know that there are consequences to be faced in case of careless behavior.
- Lack of Experience: Many teens may not have developed, by the mere age of 16, a couple of the motor coordination and judgment calls that are required to carry out many of the complex physical maneuvers of everyday driving. For instance, driving may be among the very first skills where teens will have to coordinate their eyes, hands, and feet simultaneously.
- Immaturity: 16-year-olds have a greater chance of miscalculating a traffic situation, and are generally easily distracted as compared to older drivers. Moreover, teens are more likely to speed, tailgate, text while driving, not use seat belts, and make decision errors that cause fatal accidents. Teens, especially males, are more likely to surrender to peer pressure, overestimate their driving abilities, and have mood swings, all of which lead to motor vehicle crashes. The educational programs mentioned above are expected to improve beginner drivers’ mental capacities.
Related Article: 15 Awesome Tips For Helping With Driver’s Test Nerves
Should The Driving Age Be Increased?
An ongoing debate is whether the driving age should be exceeded from 16 to 18. Not surprisingly, teens based in the United States are not happy with any potential decision that could raise the driving age. Although every teenage passenger will make good arguments in favor of why they should be allowed to drive, it is important to note that so does the opposite side. The reality is raising the driving age from 16 to 18 will reduce the crash rate and improve the overall safety of teen drivers.
There are a couple of strong, statistical arguments in favor of raising the minimum driving age to 18. The most significant of these arguments is one that shows 18 is a safer age to drive as compared to 16. The rate of fatal crashes per mile driven is nearly half as high for teens between 18 and 19 as for 16 to 17-year-olds. Another reason to raise the driving age is with the hope that teens will become more active when they do not have the option to drive and are forced to walk or ride a bike. It is hypothesized that this small change in the age teens drive would cut back on teenage obesity levels by providing a greater number of opportunities for exercise. Advocates of these ideas hope for the driving privileges of 16-year-olds to be revoked.
On the other hand, people who age in favor of the minimum driving age being 16 believe that this option will limit the transportation options for teens. These days, teens are caught up in numerous things apart from their studies, including sports, debates, etc., and they need to be driven to and from those places. Being able to drive themselves will save some valuable time. Moreover, it is argued that increasing the minimum age will delay the gaining of valuable experience because isn’t the best way to learn something by doing it?
Whichever argument you find yourself favoring, remember that our children are the future, and their safety is more vital than anything.
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.