CON: Should students get their drivers license at 16?

The topic of the age to receive a drivers license has sparked many debates in the past years in high school as high schoolers face the quandary: should they drive at 16 or wait until 18? One should wait until 18 to get their drivers license because of safety, health and convenience.

First, driving at 18 makes roads safer for both teenagers and adults. According to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2015, motor-vehicles were the leading cause of death for individuals between 16 and 23. Driving at an older age would substantially diminish the deaths for this age group. This effect doesn’t only apply to teenagers; their behavior affects everyone else on the road. According to a study by Braitman et al. in the Journal of Safety Research, teenagers are the cause of 75% of the crashes they’re in, which is 200% greater than that of other age groups. Thus, increasing the driving age would substantially diminish the deaths for other age groups on the road.

Next, this would also encourage a healthier lifestyle for teenagers, both literally and figuratively. Eighteen-year-olds are generally moremature and are less likely to multitask with technology while driving. This is supported by science. In teenage neurological development, an inchoate prefrontal cortex leads to more risk taking, and an inflated view of one’s own driving skills leads to less focus. According to Professor Birsen Domnez at the University of Toronto, in a study about the correlation between technology and driving, “Driver distractions, such as texting on phones and chatting with passen- gers, resulted in increased injury severity for young and middle- aged drivers.” Not driving at 16 and 17 would prevent unhealthy multitasking driving habits. Furthermore, raising the driving age would stimulate teenagers under 16 to be more physically active. This would also help with the issue of national obesity for American teenagers. Exercise has a direct correlation with happiness, a longer life and higher productivity, which leads to a better economy.

Furthermore, driving at an older age would lead to fewer cars on the road, resulting in less particle pollution and a better environment. Having fewer cars would also decrease noise pollution, which could increase work efficiency and positively impact the economy. Finally, the driving permit process is incredibly lengthy: one must wait at least six months to get the permit approved, in addition to frequent lessons in drivers education. At that rate, why not just wait until you are 18?