Should the Minimum Driving Age Be Raised for Teens?

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Should the Minimum Driving Age Be Raised for Teens? In the majority of states, including Utah, teens can get their driver’s license at the age of 16. However, there is much debate over whether or not someone that age is actually mature enough to handle the responsibility of being behind the wheel of a vehicle.

The process for a teen to begin on the road to obtaining their license begins with applying and receiving a driving permit. To qualify, the teen must pass a written test, as well as be enrolled in a driver education course. The teen driver is only allowed to drive when there is an adult driver, age 21 years or older, in the vehicle with them.

Once the teen has held the driving permit for a minimum of six months and completed the driver education course, they can apply for their driver’s license. This initial licensing phase does carry certain restrictions, such as nighttime driving limitations and the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle. When the teen turns 18, they can them become eligible for a full license.

Many safety advocates feel that 16 is too young for a person to drive. There have been multiple studies, as well as national statistics, which indicate that raising the minimum age for a driver’s license could significantly decrease the number of vehicle crashes involving teen drivers.

Car crashes are the number one killer of teens, with thousands of young lives lost each year in auto accidents. Research reveals that a teen’s brain may not be developed enough to responsibly handle a vehicle. The prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain which controls emotions and impulses, as well as determines outcomes and make judgments, does not become fully developed until a person is in their mid-twenties. Fully engaged hormones can also affect how a teen’s brain responds to situations, often leading to speeding and other risky driving behaviors.

Some states have had success when they have raised the driving age. One example is the state of New Jersey which have had a decrease in the number of teen motor vehicle accidents. New Jersey’s minimum age for obtaining a driver’s license is 17. During a four-year period following the age increase, there were 18 crash fatalities for every 100,000 16- and 17-year-olds. When compared to nearby state Connecticut, which allows 16-year-olds to apply for their license, data revealed that Connecticut’s rate during that same time period was 26 crash fatalities for every 100,000.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer for Help

If you have been injured in a crash caused by a teen driver – or a driver at any age – contact Rasmussen & Miner today to speak with a skilled personal injury lawyer Salt Lake City UT families recommend to find out what your legal options may be. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, you may be entitled to financial compensation for you medical bills, loss of income, pain and suffering, and any other losses the injuries have caused.