Strict requirements were imposed on drivers under 18 to lower the risk of accidents involving new and inexperienced persons on the road. It worked. According to a study on crash data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, states with the most restrictions had 26 % fewer fatal crashes involving 16-year-olds. Unfortunately there was another outcome that no one expected. Fatal crashes involving 18-year-old drivers went up by 12%.
While the amount of fatal accidents involving 16-year-olds has declined, the number of fatal accidents involving 18-year-olds has increased. The cause of the decline has been attributed to the driver’s education classes, significant permit period and behind the wheel instruction that helped to educate young drivers and give them experience handling day-to-day situations while driving. These requirements, however, do not apply to persons over the age of 18 in most states. This has led to an increased number of young teens waiting to get their licenses until they do not have to complete the training.
The data brings up an even more disturbing concern. Are teens choosing to drive without any kind of license at all until they reach the age of 18? A nationally representative sample was taken for the National Young Driver Survey and it found that 4.2% of 9th-11th grade teens have driven without a license.
In California only 13% of 16-year-old’s have driver’s licenses which means that the rest of the population is waiting until an older age to get their licenses and is driving on the roads without much, if any, experience. Yes, they are older but age alone does not teach you to handle the many dangerous situations that can occur while driving.
Having a license is a privilege no matter what age. There should not be incentives for putting off getting a license because it is a hassle or too much work. Driving is a serious responsibility that puts you in the position of operating a vehicle that could affect the lives of yourself and many others.
Licensing requirements need to be standard for people of all ages. This would continue the trend of a decrease in fatal accidents due to the training people would be required to complete before obtaining a valid license. It cannot be expected for those over the age of 18 to be able to drive with another licensed driver at all times but it can be expected that they complete driver’s training before being allowed to drive on the road.
Driving without a license or without training is a great risk for all those involved. Make it a priority to teach your children or family members about proper road safety and encourage them to complete driver’s training, no matter what their age. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident contact the accident attorneys at Christensen Law Firm to find out what options are available to you. Call us today at 801-506-0800.