Archive for Monday, August 21, 2006

Safety experts: State driver’s license age too low

August 21, 2006


— Experienced drivers wanted.

Traffic safety experts say Kansas is condemning a number of young people to death each year by declaring on their 16th birthday that they can drive anytime, anywhere.

"The way we have done it," said Robert Foss, a national expert on teenage drivers, "we walk them up to the edge of the pool, shove them in and hope they survive.

"Most do, but far too many don't," Foss said.

Foss is director of the Center for the Study of Young Drivers at the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center.

He recently visited the state urging Kansans to consider changing the law on driver's licenses in a way that would restrict 16-year-olds on when they could drive and who could be with them.

Currently in Kansas, full licensure is available to 16-year-olds.

But phasing in the privilege of driving would give new drivers valuable experience before they could "graduate" to having unlimited access to the road, Foss said.

He has helped lead what is called the graduated driver's license movement across the country that has resulted in new restrictions in 45 states. Thirty-two states prohibit new drivers from driving at night and restrict the number of passengers they can have in their vehicle or require that a licensed adult be with them for a certain time period.

"That eases the transition between driving with mom or dad and being completely in charge of the car yourself," Foss said.

Katrina Jongman-Sereno, a Free State High School senior, drives out of the FSHS parking lot after school. Traffic safety experts are suggesting that 16-year-olds are too young to drive with no restrictions.

Katrina Jongman-Sereno, a Free State High School senior, drives out of the FSHS parking lot after school. Traffic safety experts are suggesting that 16-year-olds are too young to drive with no restrictions.

The remaining states have nighttime restrictions only.

Kansas is one of five states with neither of those limits for newly licensed drivers.

"Kansas has one of the weaker systems in the country," said James Hanni, executive vice president of the Kansas Region of AAA.

No. 1 killer

For teenagers in the United States, the No. 1 killer is motor vehicle crashes.

In Kansas, teen drivers from 15 to 18 years old represented 6.7 percent of all Kansas registered drivers but accounted for 20.1 percent of all crashes.

For the five-year period ending in 2004, 14- to 17-year-old drivers in Kansas were involved in 60,013 crashes, 26,050 injuries and 273 fatalities.

Foss and Hanni said numerous studies have shown that young teens just aren't developed enough mentally to make the kinds of judgments needed to drive safely. They need more experience driving under restricted and supervised conditions, they said.

Teen opposition

But Katrina Jongman-Sereno, a senior at Free State High School, said limiting teen drivers won't necessarily solve the problem.

"Inexperienced drivers, younger or older, may be more at risk, but ultimately they have to drive to become experienced," she said. "Instead of restricting when or whom they can drive with, beginning drivers should receive better training."

Jongman-Sereno has been driving since she was 14 1/2. She received her restricted license after logging 50 hours driving with her parents and her full license in October when she turned 16.

"An experienced adult driving while on a cell phone is probably more dangerous than the average teen driver," she said. "I'm against any changes to the current driving restrictions for teenagers."

Rural opposition

Restricting new drivers has won the support of numerous state agencies, law enforcement officials and health groups.

But the issue hasn't budged in Kansas because of worries from rural groups.

In wide-open rural areas, driving to get somewhere is a must, and the sooner the better for young people who sometimes live many miles from school or work.

"We rely on labor that includes high school kids in the summer," said Terry Holdren, local policy director for the Kansas Farm Bureau.

Holdren's group opposed a graduated license bill during the last legislative session. The proposal was called "Cody's Law" after Cody Gumm, a 16-year-old Kansas City, Kan., youth who was killed in a traffic accident in 2003. He was the passenger in a car of another teenager who was later convicted of vehicular homicide for his reckless driving that led to the accident.

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Holdren said the bill's changes were too extreme, but the Farm Bureau probably could support lesser restrictions.

The measure last session would have increased full licensure from 16 to 18, the ages for an instructional permit from 14 to 15 and a restricted permit from 15 to 16. It also tightened an exception for 14-year-olds working on farms.

Holdren said his group likely would support restrictions on nighttime driving and the number of passengers allowed in a new driver's vehicle.

Statistics show the accident rate for new drivers increases dramatically when there is more than one other teen passenger in the vehicle.

Recommendations coming

A panel appointed by Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is considering several proposals aimed at making Kansas roads safer. It is expected to make recommendations before the 2007 legislative session that starts in January.

Cynthia Connor, the mother of 16-year-old Cody Gumm, has urged lawmakers to approve graduated driver's licenses.

"Driving restrictions may not be convenient for parents, but they are much less of a burden than planning a funeral," she said.


Nikki May 11 years, 8 months ago

I have mixed feelings on this. If the issue is inexperience, how is changing the age going to help? We'll have inexperienced 18 year olds. I don't want kids dying, but really again, we need parents to parent. It seems like every day there is something that the government is doing to make life easier on parents. If you get out there with your 15 year old, and teach them, and make them do driving classes, there are less problems. And, we have to note that there are people dying from reckless driving well past 16.

bmwjhawk 11 years, 8 months ago

...and drinking age too high.

Reverse 'em.

belle 11 years, 8 months ago

How about making driver's ed a requirement!!!! What an idea! Let's make sure they've been taught. It is possible to just make it harder to get a license.

No, instead, we'll just increase the age to 18 and cross our fingers.

Shardwurm 11 years, 8 months ago

It's not as bad as this guy points out. We've moved two kids through the system and have one more to go.

For those who don't know, the State requires 100 hours of driving with an adult prior to receiving your license. That includes 10 hours of night time driving. Each of our children had a log and we dutifully filled it in.

Between driver's education and 100 hours of additional instruciton, what more does this guy want? When I went through I drove a car about 1 hour and had a license.

I have mixed emotions about it as well...but as someone pointed out above - you have to start sometime and whether you are inexperienced at 16 or 18 you're still inexperienced. I'm over 40 but you wouldn't want me to give you a ride on a motorcycle.

Nikki May 11 years, 8 months ago

I didn't know about the 100 hours. However, I know that some people LIE. I know parents to sign their kid's reading logs and the kid hasn't touched a book. I imagine those same parents are going to sign a driving log rather than spend the time they need too. At least the logs work for honest people!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 8 months ago

It isn't just a matter of experience. It's also a matter of physical maturity. The brain isn't fully mature until the early twenties. One symptom of that immaturity is the occasional lapse of good judgement, which is especially amplified by peer pressure.

geekin_topekan 11 years, 8 months ago

There will be accidents and untimely death and there always will be.That is the hazard of being born.You have a high risk of death. Speed is the root of all bone-headed driving here in toontown as far as I can tell.That and plain old arrogance.That is a result of poor up-bringing.Driving habits generally reflect the drivers view of the world.Respecting your fellow driver is as elementary as respecting your fellow man and some youngsters around here have none.Heck,adults for that matter. I would suggest that with all the computer technology in new cars that there is no reason that a parent/court controlled Governor couldn't be installed.After all,driving is a privilige(sp?) not a right. Otherwise we will have to accept the fact that young people die.Sometime through inexperience,they put themselves in harms way.that is the way it's been wince we climbed out of the trees.

mom_of_three 11 years, 8 months ago

The Lawrence school district has a limited driver's ed program. I am not sure how many students are left out. When I went to school, driver's ed was a required class during the school year, and then the driving time was during the summer.

Dale Stringer 11 years, 8 months ago

Here's my question... how does the state compare to others in the 21-23 age group for accidents, the age when most are starting to drink? With more driving exerience, are Kansas kids more mature drivers when they start drinking?

I was living in TX when the idea was being tossed around to make the driving age 21. Then they could start learning to drink and drive at the same time. Hope that idea has died since I moved.

badger 11 years, 8 months ago

Am I missing some statistics in the above article?

Where are the numbers that demonstrate that in these states that have restricted or graduated licenses, overall traffic fatalities decrease? If most states have some form of restriction (as stated above) and traffic fatalities are still the number one killer of teens not only in Kansas but in the US (also as stated above), where is the evidence that raising the age produces a substantive change?

It's all well and good to talk about how brains develop, and maturity levels, but for a change to have any meaning, we can't just have those same kids getting in accidents at 18 that would have gotten in them at 16 and call that a success.

I think that taking and passing a Driver's Education course with a minimum requirement for supervised driving would be a better option, because nothing says that the intervening two years would be spent in practicing any more than the permit time is now, or that a parent is going to be a particularly good driving teacher.

Dale Stringer 11 years, 8 months ago

Badger, I bet the statics won't change for "Drivers within 2 years of getting their licenses". The thing is the 18 year old will most like have moved out from under mom and dad. It is another way that parents can shirk off responsibility for their kids.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 11 years, 8 months ago

The dirty little secret is that mass transit through millions of private autos, with a huge percentage operated by poorly qualified and/or impaired operators, is extremely dangerous. The youngest of those operators just happen to be the most unqualified, the least cautious and sometimes the most impaired. Death and serious injury are just the price we have to pay for our god-given right to drive.

hipper_than_hip 11 years, 8 months ago

The sad fact is the KS Dept of Revenue isn't interested in keeping people from driving, or placing restrictions on those who drive, and nothing is going to change until more people die needlessly.

Tammy Copp-Barta 11 years, 8 months ago

And the thought of inheriting drivers from other states that go to KU and haven't had experience driving is TERRIFYING!!! Most have enough problems driving ANYWAYS and the thought of all of us getting to be on the road with them "while they get experience" oh my ... I'll take the 16 and 100 hours with Mom and Pop please ... :)

compmd 11 years, 8 months ago

You bring up some excellent points Marion. Kids are simply taught operation (here's the "go" pedal, here's the "stop" pedal) and then for the most part left to their own devices. The automakers today are putting out far too complicated cars for novice drivers. Its irresponsible for a company like Honda to put a 250hp engine in an Accord, for example. You just don't need that much power. Also, with the advent of computer controls, automakers are making cars that do more thinking for the driver. This is not necessarily a good thing. Stability control can give a bad driver irresponsible driving habits.

I've been lucky enough to be able to examine hundreds of people for licensure, and appropriately flunk those who can't drive. It was a relief when a 16 year old would come in and fail their driving test on their birthday, and then scream and complain. Those are the ones that were really bad drivers. Those that didn't complain much after being failed generally accepted their mistakes and knew that they would have to do better next time. I always hoped that maybe those who screamed at me would learn from their mistakes. Some did, others didn't.

The kids who understand that driving is a privilege, not a right, are the ones who have appeared to me to be better drivers. Those who believe that highways are their 16th birthday presents worry me. A lot.

Makes me wish that Mercedes would go back to making the 240D and have states make it the standard issue car for all 16 year old drivers. That will to teach kids to respect the road, other drivers, and the car.

Jeff Goger 11 years, 8 months ago

I believe we need more education and training, not more restrictions. All drivers both young and old need programs that teach proper driving skills and all traffic laws. Drivers education should be a required course for all 14-15 yr. olds in school.

jhwk247 11 years, 8 months ago

When are parents going to step up and take responsibility? It will not make anything better by raising the age for a non restricted license. Parents need to take part in their childrens lives and help them mature and grow into responsible adults instead of waiting for the children to grow up on their own and hope they become responsible. Get involved and off the side lines, it makes a difference.

badger 11 years, 8 months ago

My parents did a pretty good job teaching me how to handle a car. We lived in a construction area, so Mom would take me out to the streets with no houses or mailboxes, that were coated in slick mud after rain, and have me practice putting the car into a skid (so I could learn how it felt and how to avoid it) and pulling it out, so I could respond if I found myself skidding.

Dad refused to let either my sister or me take our exams until we'd demonstrated we could change a tire, knew where and how to check the oil on the car we'd be driving most often, could change the air filter and the oil, and could explain exactly why the mechanic giving us a 'doom and gloom' wallet-padding estimate on a minor repair needed to put those wheels back on, take that car down this instant, and let us drive off the lot without threatening us for money.

mom_of_three 11 years, 8 months ago

jhwk - as a parent of 2 driving age teenagers, I am fully aware of my responsibility of my teen's driving, as I think most parents are. But I am not sure where your comment is heading.
As a parent, I don't want to teach my child have to drive, as I am not trained as a teacher. I can help them gain experience once they have the basic knowledge. I remember how nervous I was driving with my parents, and don't want my kids so nervous in learning from me.
I would like driver's ed to be a class every freshmen can take in school.

NorthLawrenceDude 11 years, 8 months ago

I am not worried, because that MEAN lady over at the DMV won't pass anyone on their test anyway!! It is the Chineese KU students we should all worry about. How do they get a license? I heard they can just take a "picture test" and not even know english. I wish that lady over at the DMV would crack down on that!

mom_of_three 11 years, 8 months ago

badger, Our driver's ed taught everyone to drive a stick and an automatic. My dad's truck was an automatic, so I was able to practice, but never got the hang of it until I was an adult.
Since we had driver's ed, I don't remember taking a written test I had to pass, other than the one where they give you the book. I guess it was different where I grew up in Kansas. And if you passed driver's ed, you were good to go.

Evan Ridenour 11 years, 8 months ago

I can't help but agree that allowing 16 year olds unrestricted driving privileges is a mistake. A quick google search reveals countless reports showing the danger posed by teenage drivers. There is no god given right to drive, there is not even a constitutional right to drive! What about my right to be able to drive down a street and not have to worry about a 16 year old with 3 friends in the car plowing into me from behind (happened to me personally)? Or my right to not be crashed into from the side by a teenager running a stop sign as they blab on their cell phone (also happened).

If something is known to be dangerous, even fatal, isn't it the governments' responsibility to restrict it for the common good? Taken into prospective I think most rational people would value their life and the life of their loved ones over common convenience. Driving is not a right, it is a privilege. A highly regulated one. If further restricting the driving habits of teenagers is what it takes to make not only the teenagers safer but the rest of us as well... it is a step that cannot be passed up.

kujeeper 11 years, 8 months ago

Let's quit picking on the kids and look at the 70+ age group. There are many elderly drivers who are a serious danger on the road. They can no longer react in a time necessary to drive, they cannot see as well, and they tend to drive too slow, often causing other drivers to swerve around them to avoid running them over, all while the driver that is forced to miss them was only going the speed limit. I think every person can think of a time or two when an elderly person has pulled out in front of them and never even realized they did anything wrong.

However, the state needs to make everyone take a on-road driving test every once in a while. The lack of that and allowing everyone to do the test open book is creating a state of people who cannot drive well at all. When was the last time you were at a four-way stop and everyone at it with you knew how to properly work a four-way stop?

Dale Stringer 11 years, 8 months ago

Here why I love and hate statistics, you can make them look as good and bad as you want.

From the website Marion sent us too...

Key Facts ¢ Last year, over 6,000 young people, ages 15 to 20, died in motor vehicle crashes.
Ok, I believe that. It is only .002% of the US population. How many were involve in vehicle accidents where the vehicle was driven by a 15-20 year old? ¢ Approximately one-third of all deaths for people 15 to 20 years old are from motor vehicle crashes.
So only 18,000 of the 15-20 age group died in the US, out of approximately 20 million+, that sounds pretty good too when you compare to most of the rest of the world. About .09% of them. Angola is about 40%. Of course they have other things to worry about than driving. ¢ The crash rate for 16-year-old drivers is 15 times that of 20- to 24-year-olds.
I call that experience. What would 20-24 year olds be like if they just started driving? Or if the 16 yr olds had to buy their own car instead of momy and daddy getting it for them. ¢ Young drinking drivers are involved in fatal crashes at twice the rate as drivers aged 21 and older.
We aught to use this one to keep the youngsters from drinking instead of learning how to drive. ¢ In the last two years, non-alcohol-related fatalities increased by three percent for youth aged 15 to 20.
A good statistic. Blame that one on the faster, quicker, more powerful cars. I think every kid should get an old AMC Ambassador. I don't have any experience with the M-B 240. Thanks Compmd. ¢ States with nighttime driving restrictions or curfews for young novice drivers experience lower crash rates than comparison states.
Dah! Don't let them drive at all and there won't be any crashes in their age group. ¢ More unrestrained youth die in crashes than those wearing safety belts. Another Dah! Bet it is so for all age groups huh.

And too think I like the graduated license. Just think if getting a drivers license included having an A or B average in school.

Janet Lowther 11 years, 8 months ago

Those survey questions are the most biased I've seen!

Maybe there should be restrictions on teens driving in counties with a population of over 100,000: That way the delicate children of Lawrence, Topeka, Wichita and Overland Park would be "Protected."

I am not either a teen or a parent, but when I was a newly licensed 16 year old driver, my parents limited my driving to appropriate times and destinations. Why can't parents today do likewise?

Bone777 11 years, 8 months ago

Everyone likes to complain. I have been cut-off, flipped off, and followed too closely by all ages. Why punish the kids that are responsible. Change the laws to include mandatory drivers education. Have emphasis patrols around the schools and change the law to restrict licenses on first time offenders on drivers under the age of 20. The irresponsible parents are still going to let their irresponsible kids drive, irregardless of the limitations imposed. The responsible kids will be the ones that are punished.

missmagoo 11 years, 8 months ago

In Kansas, if you haven't taken Driver's can't get a restricted license at 15. You have to drive on the permit you got at 14 until you're 16 years old. At least that's how it was when I was that age.

Of course 44% of teen deaths are result of auto accidents. Change the age to 18 and 44% of 18 year old deaths will be from auto accidents.

All high school age kids should be REQUIRED to take driver's ed. No question about it. My DE class was 5 weeks, a few hours a day in the summer, with the last week being out on the road. But it was of course, optional. And that's the only time I've ever been 'tested' on the road. On-the-road tests should be REQUIRED at least sometime in the first 5 years by the DMV.

If you think Lawrence is a CRAZY town to drive in now...just wait until 4,000 new freshmen move in to town in August who have just gotten their driver's licenses. Do the crash statistics then!

John Spencer 11 years, 8 months ago

1) Do you know the difference in cornering techniques between front and rear wheel drive cars? Yes, I own one of each right now.

(2) Do you know the "rule of braking"? Normal conditions, brake early and lightly, becoming more firm till you stop. (3) What is the fastest way to stop on ice driving a car equipped with ABS? Find a very thick brick wall, that should a very fast stop. Ok seriously apply firm even pressure, try not to freak when the pedal "thumps." (4) What is the fastest way to stop on ice driving a car NOT equipped with ABS? Pump the brakes. (5) How does one stop a skid in a front wheel drive car? Trick question, what type of skid? there are 4 types of skids, which one? (6) How does one stop a skid in a rear wheel drive car? Trick question, what type of skid? there are 4 types of skids, which one? (7) What is the fastest way to stop a car on dry pavement, whether or not the car is equipped with ABS? See 2 (8) What is the single most effective thing that you can do in terms of maintainence of your car to ensure maximum safety when operating that car? A bit argueable, but I imagine you are going to say tire pressure.

gccs14r 11 years, 8 months ago

I started driving in 1969 when I was five. By the time I was ten, I drove regularly. By the time Driver's Ed rolled around, I took it just for the insurance break. Getting started before I was ten allowed me to simply absorb the mechanics of driving, rather than having to learn them analytically.

Forcing people to wait until adulthood before permitting them to drive dooms them to a lifetime of having to think about every action instead of knowing instinctively what to do. Start teaching kids earlier, not later.

gccs14r 11 years, 8 months ago

"(4) What is the fastest way to stop on ice driving a car NOT equipped with ABS? Pump the brakes."

First remove power from the drive wheels so they don't keep pushing/pulling you. Neutral is your friend when stopping on ice with an automatic transmission, even with ABS.

Confrontation 11 years, 8 months ago

There are many idiot drivers in Lawrence. However, it's not the teens that annoy me on a daily basis. My biggest problems come from older adults and psycho soccer moms in mini-vans (of course using their cells). I believe that cell phones are a much greater problem than teen driving. Add the two together, and you can just watch the funeral homes get a big boost in profit. I know they claim that cell phones cause a small percentage of the accidents, but how many of these drivers are admitting to using their cells before the crash?

Dean Royal 11 years, 8 months ago

If we talked to Nascar drivers and asked them what their grades were like in school, what would they say?

While that's not completely relative (because they don't race and talk on cell phones) it does bear some importance.

It's obvious that training is at fault. There are professional car drivers and bike riders that are anywhere from 14 to 18. What makes them so great is their training, initially. Then it becomes experience. Lastly, it's luck.

Seems to me that we have it all backwards. We throw them out there and wish them the best of luck, with virtually no experience and no training.

Fact is we just don't train anyone properly before we set them loose. The numbers we see are a direct reflection of this failure.

In the end we just finger-point and call them a statistic. Nice.

Confrontation 11 years, 8 months ago

I definitely don't think IQ has anything to do with this! I have a brother who had a terrible high school GPA, and my mom lied on his 50-hour driving requirement. She spent maybe 5 hours in a car with him. However, I can't think of a better driver that I would feel more comfortable riding with in any given situation (especially ice!). I have another friend who graduated at the top of every single level of her education, and she has at least one wreck every year. This included totaling out at least 3 cars.

jayhawks71 11 years, 8 months ago

Jongman-Sereno is comparing apples and oranges. Yes, inexperienced drivers on any level (and experienced drivers on cell phones) are going to be greater hazards; the research supports this, but also supports the more recent neuroscience hypothesis that teen brains are still far from developed, specifically, the pre-frontal regions associated with inhibiting impulsive behaviors and planning. Two aspects that are very important to driving.

Perhaps our society needs to re-assess whether one should be of a certain age to vote, to drink alcohol, to die for your country and to drive.

As for some distilled stats:

sickandtired247 11 years, 8 months ago

I have lived on a farm and had kids go through drivers ed. For those struggling family farms, the 14 year old kid is someone else to back up the trailer to pick up animals, help move/exchange implements, fuel up the vehicles for the days work, etc. But, back then, we had to have a tractor safety certificate and a learner's permit. Since it was before the age of driver's ed, the DMV had the responsiblity of 'road testing' the kid. And if you were caught moving equipment on the road without the license and certificate either in the cab or on your person, the local sheriff had no problem dishing out tickets with fines. Driver's Ed rolled around, did all the driving with the coaches (their summer job), had to pass the written with a 80% or better, then you could get your restricted. Turned into a regular license when you were 16 (the restricted expired at that point and you had to go in and get the 'picture' one).

Now the kids have drivers ed out here in Eudora for 2 hours a day (testing, written work, etc) and some driving during the summer. My kid has her log and just like her siblings before her, you have to fill out the time they drive and get them a learner's permit.

Like many other scary moments with our kids, some parents assume that it is 'accepted' or that their child will be shunned if they do not have their own transportation at 16.

I think a compromise can be reached where their are some restrictions placed on kids (especially in more populated areas) until they are 17 or 18. Most states back east or in the rust belt don't want those additional cars on the road and limit the kids to driving later. But you have still a rural population here, and some allowances will have to be made, regardless of where the kids work. That is unfortunate, but sometimes the only option for those kids is to help with the family farm or contribute to the household financially.

Didn't they used to ban freshman with cars from the KU campus? How else can we educate the kids here and coming into the community? Because education of both parents and kids is needed to change the direction on this statistic.

gbulldog 11 years, 8 months ago

How about using a drivers license as an incentive to graduate from high school. A person under 18 (unless they have graduated from high school) would only be allowed a restricted driving license. In order to obtain a restricted driving license, the person would be required to pass a basic english test, a basic car mait test, and view video results of what can happen in an accident. If they violate the restricted license rules, then besides the fine, they need to do community service, possibly working taking care of a disabled person.

grimpeur 11 years, 8 months ago

Graduated licensing is a great idea at any age. Kansas (and the U.S.) should adopt experience and testing thresholds for ALL drivers, not just young'uns, for those wanting to drive

1) vehicles with curb weight over 4,500 lbs 2) vehicles developing over 200 hp.

This would improve everyone's safety more than upping the driving age, since we know that the fact that someone's over 16 (or 18, or 40) doesn't mean they're not an idiot behind the wheel.

And since less than 5% of the people driving cars of this size really need them, the burden on DMV wouldn't be that great.

Calliope877 11 years, 8 months ago

I was a REALLY bad driver when I was in high school. I was so bad that my parents' insurance dropped them because I was having too many wrecks.

But I'm much better now.:) I haven't had a speeding ticket or caused a wreck for over 6 years.

Sigmund 11 years, 8 months ago

"For the five-year period ending in 2004, 14- to 17-year-old drivers in Kansas were involved in 60,013 crashes, 26,050 injuries and 273 fatalities."

Lets do the maths and run the numbers. That is 12,003 accidents, 5,210 injuries, and 54.6 deaths per year. So over half of the accidents every year result in no injury and a slightly more than one teen driver per week is killed in all of Kansas. NOW LETS ASSUME THAT NOT EVERY ACCIDENT A TEEN WAS INVOLVED WITH, WAS THE TEENS FAULT, a reasonable assumption, and even these numbers of accidents, injuries and deaths caused by teens fall drammaticlly.

Further, it seems to me that teens would drive more miles than adults because they have more free time and are more social. It would not unusual that they would be involved in more accidents for that reason alone (more miles, more opportunity to be hit). More instructive would be the number of accidents per mile driven rather than just the total.

No your not over-reacting here, not at all!

Harry_Manback 11 years, 8 months ago

Inexperience causes if they raise the driving age, the number of accidents will remain the same, the age will just increase.

Also, what a crappy, biased poll!

Harry_Manback 11 years, 8 months ago

When I was 16 I got in an accident because an 80 year old man wasn't paying attention and backed into me. Despite the fact that there were 5 witnesses, the cop blamed me cause he said teens usually cause all the accidents! Luckily I had my day in court, and the evidence showed that it was the old man who caused the accident and lied about it!

Mary Dillon 11 years, 8 months ago

I have raised three children and I also grew up in Kansas and had the same laws when I learned to drive. All of my sons are very good drivers. They all received their learners permit at 14 and had to drive with me for a year. By the time they attended driving school they were already experienced drivers. I also allowed them to drive to school and work with their restricted licenses, but no where else unless with a parent. By following the Kansas laws, my children received their license at age 16 after having already received two years of experience behind the wheel.

If Kansas raises their age for a license think about a 17 or 18 year old just receiving driver's education and then a full license to drive and then sent off to college driving on their own without any parental supervision.

The new restrictions being discussed don't seem to address more experience, just age. No matter what the age... an inexperienced driver is an inexperienced drivers, and they are going to have problems. Instead of changing the ages of drivers why not add more driving education for all student drivers and stiffer penalties for student drivers and parents who choose to skirt those rules. I wonder just how many parents actually have driven with their student the number of hours required. To help out the parents who can't or don't want to teach their children to drive offer extended hours of driving though Driver's Education classes to fulfill the driving logs.

No matter what the age... an inexperienced driver is an inexperienced drivers, and they are going to have problems. Don't change the age....give them more experience and education driving.

Tychoman 11 years, 8 months ago

In my experience the worst drivers are usually college-age girls and women with children in the back. And of course the elderly. The most attentive drivers that I've noticed has been young guys. Complacency and ignorance do not mix.

Mary Dillon 11 years, 8 months ago

What an awful Poll.... It sounds like the people who would like to change the age limit wrote the poll..... There is not an option for simply opposing the restrictions unless I want to be a parent who will "have" to drive my children around.

Heads up to the LJW staff... why have this poll the way it is written, it is meaningless!!!!!

Confrontation 11 years, 8 months ago

Yes, the young guys are so attentive that the insurance companies keep their rates high. Apparently, State Farm charges these guys more since they are such good drivers. Ha!

Tychoman 11 years, 8 months ago

Confrontation I said that's what from I've observed, not professional experience.

Shardwurm 11 years, 8 months ago

"Not a bad idea at all but this would return our schools to being PERFORMANCE based rather than OUTCOME based."

I would indeed like to base teacher's salaries on performance. lol. Like THAT will ever happen!

fletch 11 years, 8 months ago

This kind of stuff cracks me up. Do you like to eat out at night? Guess what, those food service workers are usually teenagers. Do you like shopping at night? Same deal.

Heck, try to run a farm or ranch if the 16 and 17 year olds can't drive after dark. What are you going to do? Drive out into the feilds right after sundown to pick them up.

If you raise the liscence age to 17, then all of a sudden 17 year old drivers are going to be the msot dangerous. Then you can raise it to 18, and guess who is the most dangerous now. Shower. Rinse. Repeat.

If you want to make kids safer drivers, make drivers ed more difficult. Don't make it about watching videos in a a classroom and doing less than a dozen drive hours. Make it rigorous. Make it tough. Make them earn it. Then jack up the tickets when you're 16 and 17. If you get more than 1 ticket in a year, your liscence is suspended for 6 months. Make the consequences so severe that teenagers actually view them as torture rather than punishment.

ForThePeople 11 years, 8 months ago

marion, if "stalking" and "harrassment" came to mind after reading what TD & I posted, you should really go back & reread some of the wild things enforcer posted.

Oh, wait, it all got deleted. Never mind.

OOOOH YEA...just wanted to remind you what stalking it's being takin' seriously! Enforcer is wise to stick to just watching for now!!!!

ForThePeople 11 years, 8 months ago

Marion....why do you waste your time with the likes of enforcer...surely you are able to attract more whitty companions?

ForThePeople 11 years, 8 months ago

You're so charming and all, I just can't imagine. Please give me a clue!

ForThePeople 11 years, 8 months ago this true?

Marion has such a big ego that it is actually a black hole which sucks in other egos to crush & devour them. I just can't believe're my hero....LOL!

kg52 11 years, 8 months ago

What happened to driver's education as a school subject. When I was at Central Jurior High when I turned 14 I took driver's education as an elective subject during the school year (no charge) It was a semester class (if I remember right it was a three days a week class). We had classroom work, had driver trainers (seats we drove in in class with a projector screen showing us what to do and it was monitored by the teacher so if we made a mistake he could tell us) and we drove 1 day a week with a teacher. My sons (in Topeka) took it during the summer before their 10th grade year (nominal charge). They started out driving around the school parking lot in cars the dealerships provided, then were given road instruction one day a week with a teacher. Now they charge some exorbitant fee to take it through the school (if offered at all). We all have good driving records. My sons both drove at 16 - we paid for insurance while they were in school and their incentive was 1 ticket or 1 accident - no matter how minor (their fault) and the insurance bill was theirs. We had neither. My husband on the other hand learned to drive on the farm at age 10. I think maybe the answer is to go back to the "old ways". It worked then, maybe it would work now. Safe driving must be taught and we can't expect anyone to know what to do after reading a booklet and taking one road test to get a license.

fletch 11 years, 8 months ago

"As someone who has attended not one but three high speed driving schools, who has one of the largest automotive libraries I know of and as one to whom the automobile and its variants are a really big portion of life, and as one wqho has driven by the most recent calculation, over one million miles, I believe myself to be qualified to comment on this matter with some authority."

Wow, Marion feels he's qualified to comment on a matter with some authority. Seeing as Marion is widely known for his lack of vocal opinions, I find this revelation to be shocking and worthy of more interest. :)

prioress 11 years, 8 months ago

Good article; difficult problem, but I'd vote for more restrictions. Two good ways to handle traffic and danger. (Stolen from my dad, incidentally.) 1. If a kid is old enough to drive regularly, they are old enough to buy and maintain the car themselves, and to move out and live in the world on their own. 2. The only cars allowed on the roads would be those that are PAID FOR!

prioress 11 years, 8 months ago

"Not a bad idea at all but this would return our schools to being PERFORMANCE based rather than OUTCOME based." +++++++++ Sorry; the terms are essentially interchangeable. Do you find it a bit ironic that Driver's Education was the original "performance-based" school program? Now we are engaged in a struggle to do this with all classwork, no small task.

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