The question concerning increasing the minimum age for issuance of driving licenses has been being pushed in the recent past due to a rapid growth in the number of accidents caused by reckless driving. Investigations concerning the increase of automobile related accidents have proven that teenagers have caused a high percentage of accidents (Simons-Morton et al., 2015). Additionally, teens have been reported to have high obesity rates due to inactive lifestyles. Getting a driving license is one of the most important things that most youths in USA look forward to achieve. However, of the people who are issued with driving licenses, many teens have poor driving skills on the road. Whether increasing the age would reduce or even completely prevent accidents of this kind and enhance the health of teens is the heart of this argument.
Increasing the age for getting a driving license would help reduce obesity among youths. It cannot be denied that the issues of obesity in teens have increased of late in the United States. Reports indicate that one in three Americans are overweight and the percentage keeps growing with more teenagers suffering from obesity (Dellinger & West, 2015). Increased rates of obesity in teenagers are attributed to their inactive lifestyles. Dellinger & West (2015) explains that American teens own driving licenses and rather than having a weekend out hiking, most teens prefer driving to school and going for weekend trips. Hence, rising the legal age for acquiring a driving license may encourage teens to resume their previous lifestyle that is more active. It would help them adapt to healthier habits that will help reduce obesity related illnesses such as heart diseases.
Teen fatality rates would be reduced. Thrills of high speed are often a part of the driving experience that teenagers believe is the best. Although the thrills cannot be eliminated, increasing the legal driving license from 16 years to 18 years can help in limiting dangerous thrills that teenagers involve themselves. According to the National Teen Driving Statistics, motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death of youths between the ages of 15 to 18 years. In 2014, a total of 2, 828 teenagers died from motor vehicles crashes attributed to poor driving skills including over speeding and dangerous overtaking (Simons-Morton et al., 2015).
Besides, teens can be easily distracted since they are still undergoing psychological development. In a comprehensive research conducted on video footage of teens accidents, it was found that most of the teens were distracted while driving (Bingham et al., 2015). This was attributed to their multitasking habits which are unhealthy. It can be noted that teens are active participants in social media and other technology that can easily distract them. At the age of 18, the mind of human beings is more developed to multitask. Psychologists indicate that at 16 years, teens are often easily distracted unlike when they are 18 years (Bingham et al., 2015).
In conclusion, teens below the age of 18 years have been affected by obesity because of sedentary lifestyle attributed to their ability to drive. Most car accidents are a result of over speeding by teens, and since they are easily distracted, they can quickly lose focus and cause accidents on the road. Therefore, the legal driving age should be increased to 18 years to mitigate obesity and accident-related deaths.
Bingham, C. R., Zakrajsek, J. S., Almani, F., Shope, J. T., & Sayer, T. B. (2015). Do as I say, not as I do: Distracted driving behavior of teens and their parents. Journal of Safety Research, 55, 21-29.
Dellinger, A. M., & West, B. A. (2015). Health care providers and teen driving safety: Topics discussed and educational resources used in practice. American Journal of Lifestyle medicine, 9(6), 451-456.
Simons-Morton, B. G., Bingham, C. R., Ouimet, M. C., Pradhan, A. K., Chen, R., Barretto, A., & Shope, J. T. (2015). The effect on teenage risky driving of feedback from a safety monitoring system: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(1), 21-26.
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