Monday, August 23, 2010: Adam London, age 17, captain of the lacrosse team and student body president, should be a senior looking forward to graduating high school with his twin sister, Lizzy. He should be getting ready for college. He should have a future. He does not. Adam died in a car collision when he stuck a tree at sixty-three mph in a forty mph zone, while it was pouring rain. Although his father constantly warned him against speeding, he did not heed this warning.
Adam had a bright future to look forward to, but sadly he was even able to see his eighteenth birthday. Just like Adam many drivers never come home. Out of the entire driving population 10 percent are teenagers, just like Adam, between 16 and 17 years-of-age, and just this 10 percent is responsible for $19 billion or 30% among males and $7 billion or 28% among females for the total costs of motor vehicle injuries. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teens in the U. S.
Teenagers have these car crashes due factors such as immaturity, high risk maneuvers, drinking, and distraction from teen passenger, and the underestimation of hazardous situations on the road such as black ice and wet roads, and by raising the driving age from 16 years-of-age to 18 years-of-age the numbers of teen drivers would go way down and potentially the numbers of fatal car crashes would also. Compared to 18 year olds, 16 and 17 year olds have a crash rate three times higher. This is part of the reason why all teen drivers are assumed to be so dangerous.
Danger doesn’t even being to speak when teens speed. Speeding is the one of the top killers in teen car accidents. Along with speeding, teens have the lowest rate of seatbelt usage, which plays a role in the horrific fatal car crashes. Male high school students compared to female high school students are more likely to wear their seatbelts rarely or never, which can certainly pose a problem when your brakes go out or you lose control of the car and you jump the curb. It is one thing to hit a tree with a car; it’s another to hit a tree with your face because you flew through the windshield.
In 2008, a young man and his two friends were speeding down a busy road. They were like any other teenage male and his friends goofing around. When a car cut into the next lane and surprised the boys, the kid driving had little to no time to react. He swerved off the road and hit a tree. As fire trucks and ambulances arrived on the scene they found barely anything left of the car. The car was pried from the tree and all that was found was the mangled bloody remains of three young boys.
Many young men and women die for pointless reasons because of acts like these. This accident was no one’s fault, but it could have been prevented. Prevention starts when the driving age is raised. Now, people say that raising the driving age up to 18 would just cause 18 year-olds to the be at risk for a higher percentage of fatal car crashes. Simply raising the driving age will not make the difference that is needed to keep teens safe. Instead, every teen should be able to take drivers education from the age of 16 and have up to 2 years of driving with an adult.
With that extra two years, the mind of a teen has been able to develop more and they should be able to understand the dangers that they face whenever they get behind the wheel of the car. An older more mature and rational minded teen would be on the road and the world would be a safer place. Throughout the entire world, this idea of having a higher driving age has been applied, especially in many European countries. Countries such as Japan and Israel also have this law in effect. Added to the raised driving age in Europe, many teens, that drive, have an earlier curfew and have a restriction on how far they can drive.
This law has been useful in many countries already so why not add it to our’s? As an added bonus to putting this law into effect, the pollution level would decrease. If the age limit is increased to 18, thousands upon thousands of cars would be taken off the road, thus reducing carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Since everyone is going green wouldn’t this be a great way to reduce carbon emissions. This law will also give many more added benefits to our country. Many parents say that this law is not worth all of the trouble since they don’t want to drive their teens around.
But I ask them, do you want your child to be involved in a fatal car crash such as the collision that happened in September to the two young men from Divine Child, who slammed into the back of the a tractor trailer on I-94? Do you want to your child to be one of the 400,000 to suffer from a catastrophic injury when they are only 16 years of age, or in some states, 15 years of age? Do you want to have to mourn the loss of a young man or woman who had a bright future? We all know the answers to these questions. No one wants to have a child, a friend, a family member to be involved in something so tragic as this.
A car is not only a form of transportation; it is also a weapon. Weapons should not be played around with. I wish that none of you have to deal with a situation like one previously stated. I tell you that putting a law like this into motion will save millions of lives in the years to come. I tell you that driving shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is a responsibility that can potentially kill another person, a friend, a family member. Everyone should know a horrific fatal car crash could happen to any of you. I tell you that it only takes one mistake.