by Rich Wojtczak
Many of the so-called experts are advocating that getting a permit to begin driver training should be delayed, some even suggesting 17 as the minimum age. Their arguments typically center around immaturity. While I agree that there are some teens that lack the desired level of maturity at 15, the same unfortunately is also true for some adults over the age of 35.
By delaying the start of training we are most likely reducing the amount of time that a teen gets to practice under the watchful eye of a responsible adult. In fact, if we do nothing but increase the minimum age, we stand a good chance of giving the teen a reason to simply delay licensing beyond the GDL window, which studies show is already happening. There are a growing number of teens that are not pursuing a driver license when they are eligible.
A better approach would be to issue the permit at 15, and increase the holding period to a year, or even longer. Along with that, should be a requirement, similar to what Texas has implemented, that requires driver training until the age of 25.
Parents need to understand the consequences of delaying the initiation of their child into the world of motor vehicle operation. They are pretty much abdicating their chance to influence how much and what quality training their child gets in a life skill.
The financial burden of having a teen driver on your insurance is huge. The cost of high quality training is not a drop in the bucket. Parents need to balance that against the value of putting a well trained and prepared child on the road where a single mistake can mean injury or death.
How much did the football, cheerleading, dance, soccer, baseball, basketball training cost? Was the consequence of inadequate training potentially death at an early age?