For some reason, we in the United States seem to think that the major problem with newly licensed drivers is that they are too immature to handle the responsibilities of piloting a deadly weapon on our roadways. If anything, we should be focused on the amount of training and practice that is required before assuming the task.
We’ve done a wonderful job of decreasing the number of 16 year old fatalities by imposing restrictions on the licensed party IF they are under the age of 18 (AKA Graduated Driver Licensing, touted by the Powers That Be as the reason for the reduction in fatalities). But if you examine the rise in fatalities after age 18, you see a different trend…troubling, but not bothersome to those that want to beat their chests in taking credit for a reduction. Just ignore the trend to defer licensing to a later age; that has nothing to do with it, right??
We need to do something about the minimum requirements for licensure, regardless of age, in this country if we are really serious about reducing the carnage that occurs daily on the nation’s roadways.
Parents that breathe a sigh of relief because their child is not beginning to drive at an earlier age need to think about the unintended consequences of that deferral. It definitely helps on the cost side, not only by eliminating the training costs, which are no longer provided through the school systems, but also on the insurance side and the potential cost of an additional vehicle. But, what about the coaching and guidance opportunities that you as a parent are forfeiting?
Once the teen passes the GDL age, there are virtually no real requirements in most States in the US to obtain ANY formal training in the safe operation of a vehicle. Once your child leaves for school, or moves out of your household, there will be no support system available to provide the practice in driving safely. Do you really believe that your child’s friends will spend enough time in the passenger seat to coach your child regarding the nuances of driving on today’s roadways, with today’s distracted drivers, and today’s distractions?
If you do, I would really like some of what you’re smoking/ingesting to give you that comfort level,,,,,,,
Starting driver training at an age when parental control and influence is still available and maintaining permit only status until the parents are comfortable sitting in the passenger seat while the child is driving is a much better approach than simply putting off the training process. With most insurance companies, there is no additional premium until the child is actually licensed.