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Why the legal driving age should not be increased?

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Recently, there has been much debate as to whether or not the legal driving age of young Americans should be raised. Although I definitely agree with many of the arguments for this age increase, I do not believe in adding any more restrictions on Americans, or on how we choose to lead our lives. I am in opposition to the idea of elevating the driving age in the United States from sixteen to eighteen.

I am a sixteen-year-old who has chosen not to drive. I have decided not to even attain a permit up to this point. I thoroughly dislike cars and loath the impact that they have made on our culture. They cause massive amounts of pollution and have contributed to making Americans lackadaisical and apathetic. Don’t get me wrong; I do not mind cars in moderation. It just seems that cars are overabundant in our society.

In some ways, I think that it would be great if the driving age was raised. Statistics have shown that there would probably be fewer accidents. In fact, today’s teenage drivers are said to be responsible for about five times as many fatal crashes per license holder as are drivers between the ages of thirty-five and sixty-four. In addition, the mere idea of a decrease in the number of cars on the road is personally appealing to me.

Here in Oregon, restrictions have already been put into effect regarding driving minors. Teenagers are only allowed to drive adults and members of their family for the first six months of their newfound mobility. Some states will not allow unrestricted driving until 18. In actuality, these laws are often transgressed, and make only a small impact on the frequency of car-related injuries. In fact, I myself have often been an accomplice in these illegal driving excursions.

If the driving age was raised to eighteen all across the United States there would certainly be some reputable outcomes. However, it might be dangerous to elevate the right to drive to novelty status. It also seems to me that there is hypocrisy in highlighting novice drivers as the main cause of accidents, simply because restricting teenage driving is an easy regulation to make. There are many other causes of car-related injuries such as cell phone use, drowsy driving, poor driving ability in general, etc. Some car rental agencies refuse to rent a car to any person under twenty-five years of age. Other agencies will rent to young drivers but require a surcharge. These types of regulations and restrictions on young drivers are biased and unnecessary. I view it as unethical to label young drivers as problematic based largely on age, and before they have even done anything wrong. Perhaps a better alternative would be to universally raise the difficulty of driving tests. Better drivers would certainly cause fewer accidents.

In addition to this lack of necessity and wrongful prejudice, I also have qualms with governmental restriction of personal freedom in most varieties.

Hopefully, the decision to raise the driving age will not be made. Putting this idea into effect would cause more harm than good. Freedom and choice are imperative values in our society. It would be a step in the wrong direction if the United States government decided to take another of these choices away.

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