Why We Should Lower the Minimum Age For Getting a Permit (and Get Parents to Participate in Teaching Life Skills)

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?

 

 

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Maria is the Co-founder and COO of DrivingMBA. She has over 20 years of organization development experience working with a wide range of organizations. In addition to the use of traditional organization development techniques, she is highly skilled in large systems change and organization learning, with formal training in both specialties. She has extensive experience in the field of adult learning concepts, and in the design and facilitation of adult learning experiences and interventions at all levels, and sizes of organizations.

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Comments

  1. i am 14 years old and i am driving, off road anyway, i think the legal age should be lowered, we need to learn at an early age.

    • Based on information about brain development, 14 is too young to begin learning how to drive. Driving on busy streets requires a lot of skill and decision making skills. However, I do believe we should have teenagers begin learning to drive at 15 and increase the holding period for 2 years so that a young person has 2 years of practice before they take to the roads as a licensed solo driver.

  2. im 13 started at 7 learning how to drive I know how to drive stick and automatic and my dad is a mechanic so I learned how to fix my car I think once your over 10 and you can pass the test I think u should be able to get your license.

    • There is much more to driving than the ability to maneuver a vehicle, which is something you can learn at an early age. It is the decision making and judgement that are a critical part of the driving process that requires more maturity than a 10 year old has. According to studies, the adolescent brain continues to develop through our 20’s.

  3. I am 14 I know how to drive. I do drive but only in the country. I don’t think the driving age should be lowered because some teens have not reached maturity. We don’t need to learn at a young Age and teens use their cellphones too often.

  4. thanks
    i apreciate your comment

  5. My friend learned at 10 and he is 12 and has a car

  6. 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. think about it

  7. I like the current driving age.

  8. I agree with having more time for adult supervision. I agree that younger can possess ample skills for operating a vehicle, and the intelligence for learning the rules of the road and to pass the test. What I question is the level of maturity required to make a very safe decision in a tight situation that requires immediate action and good judgement. A maturity test is required.

    • It is precisely why, if we provide young people a permit at age 15 and work with them for 2 years vs. the 6 months or 1 year most states require, it gives us more time to teach and work with them. This would help them develop the necessary skills, in particular, their judgement and decision making skills during that longer period of time. Once they are 17 they will have had 2 years of practice and experience to help them develop the maturity and decision making required to be a safe driver.

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