The injury and fatality statistics for young persons who drive and get into auto accidents are staggering and on the rise. Each year, tougher laws are being put in place to punish ‘distracted driving’. In addition, young drivers face stricter licensing requirements and rules such as restrictions on driving at night and being required to have a decal on their license plates (in NJ). However the question remains: Are these laws doing enough? The laws have surely saved lives but more restrictions and tougher laws might save even more lives and prevent more injuries.
Traffic fatalities account for nearly half of all deaths for 16-19 year olds living in the U.S. This means that driving has become a greater public health concern for teens in America than depression, suicide, alcohol and drugs. The National Safety Council reported that over 24 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the United States involved a cell phone.
The Governors Highway Safety Association reported that 25 states have reported an increase in the number of accidents involving 16 and 17 year old drivers. According to government figures over three thousand teens are killed each year and close to a half million are injured due to distracted driving. Most States have reacted by forcing mandatory seat-belt laws, a graduated license system and tougher penalties with regards to cell phone use and driving. However it appears that most of these efforts have not produced the results needed.
Although it is a very tough sell to teenagers that the law should change, many parents that have had the unfortunate experience losing their child are making their voices heard on the issue and demanding change. Many of these parents argue that it is unacceptable for 50 states across America to prohibit purchasing alcohol, cigarettes and handguns at the age of 16 but allow a teenager to operate a motor vehicle.
Teenagers are also putting the lives of others on the road at risk when they drive while distracted.
For years it was not much of an issue however the more and more teens are connected to their smartphone by way of texting, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other smartphone applications the more young drivers are involved in car accidents on the road.
It has been a topic that has been hotly debated at times and then has cooled off. However with smartphones proving to be a major distraction for teens while driving it may be time to seriously consider whether we should raise the legal driving age in New Jersey.
Let your voice be heard. Should the legal driving age be raised to 18? Reply in the comments with your opinion.