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Do you think the state should raise the unrestricted driving age?

Asked at U.S. Post Office, 645 Vt. on January 23, 2008

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Photo of Valerie Tarbutton

“I would say no. I grew up in Overland Park, and everything there is so spread out that it really helped my family and I to have the freedom to drive wherever I wanted.”

Photo of Jeff Briscoe

“I think it maybe ought to be pushed to 17. I think a lot of drivers are responsible enough at that age, and a lot of families need their children to be able to drive around to make things work.”

Photo of Kelly King

“I think it’s a bad idea. The more experience you have driving while you’re young, the better the chances are that you will be a good driver as an adult.”

Photo of Jason Cole

“I know if I was a teenager, I wouldn’t be too happy about it. If there was research to prove that it would help reduce accidents, then I would support it. If they do raise the age, they should also have an age limit at which you are re-tested to retain your license.”


jonas 10 years, 4 months ago

No, I think it will just push the learning curve back. I would say the big problem is inexperience, not simply age.

LogicMan 10 years, 4 months ago

Unfortunately, yes. We are keeping children as children longer and longer. Their thoughts and decision making skills are maturing later -- they don't even consider themselves to be adults until 25 or so according to polls.

thomgreen 10 years, 4 months ago

I agree with blue and R.I. Mandatory driver's ed with a broader range of topics. We seem to have a downward trend of information being passed on to each generation when it comes to rules of the road. It seems like more kids are being taught how to drive by their parents, siblings, or peers. This lack of structured instruction lends to information not being passed on. But I don't see a reason why we should raise the age criteria we have now. We are still a vastly rural, agricultural state. Let's not discriminate by age though, we need to be catching the other end too. I've always thought there should be more stringent guidelines for senior citizens too. Actual driving tests required yearly after a certain age possibly.

jayhawklawrence 10 years, 4 months ago

I have traveled a lot in my line of work and have driven extensively in most parts of the country. I see a lot of wreckless and careless driving and I have noticed that the individuals behind the wheel come in all shapes and sizes.

I think this is more of an education issue than an age issue.

The problem with these studies is that we never get to analyze them in depth before they get politicized and then we get a lot of conflicting information.

There is also a very dangerous time of year in Lawrence when the new students start classes. Eventually, the traffic calms down as they get acclimated to our streets and we learn when not to be out driving around.

preebo 10 years, 4 months ago

Absolutely, In my native California the age to be an unrestricted driver is now 18. It was enacted over 5 years ago, and since then there has been a huge reduction in fatalities related to automobile accidents.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 10 years, 4 months ago

We should ban all driving because I am in a bad mood today.

When I was a kid, we walked everywhere. Visiting grandparents, on both coasts, every weekend. Our house on the North Pole had no heat. We had to wrestle walruses to stay warm. That's how dad died. Mom carried his body on her back to visit both sets of in-laws. She was killed by a teenage driver who was high on Ritalin, just outside of Tallahassee, Florida. I had to collect her body and pay a littering fine that had something to do with my dad's rotting corpse.

We should ban all driving because I am in a bad mood today.

Jason Bowers-Chaika 10 years, 4 months ago

How about restricting driving of the aged? Some of them have diminished eye sight, reflexes slower than a drunk, and don't check their turning signal fluid level.

H_Lecter 10 years, 4 months ago

JJE007, You're really lucky. I would have killed to have parents and relatives when I was growing up in the orphanage.

tyger_lily 10 years, 4 months ago

I think we should ban cell phones in cars for young drivers, that would help quite a bit. I was driving at 14 because I grew up on a farm. I know I did some stupid things then but at least I was always paying attention to the road instead of having a phone plastered to the side of my face. I never use my phone while driving because I have to be extra alert for all the other people gabbing away and not paying attention.

busymom 10 years, 4 months ago

Just young drivers? I think a lot of things should be banned while driving, like wearing headphones, txt messaging, applying make-up, reading, eating, etc. I also think that a required snow driving course be given to everyone, especially 4 wheel drive buyers. They tend to forget that although they can go go go on the ice/snow that they'll need to stop also. Driving age I don't have a problem with, it's what all drivers do while driving that matters.

sunflower_sue 10 years, 4 months ago

My 14 yr old-to-be will take driver's ed this summer. She asked if she could then drive to school starting in the fall. I said "Yep! And then I'll get out of the passenger seat and drive the car back home again." She wasn't very impressed with my anwer. I want my kiddies to log a bazillion hours behind the wheel (with me or hubby riding shotgun) before I cut them loose.

Gonzo308 10 years, 4 months ago

I grew up in Illinois. We had to wait until 15 to get the permit and a year and something like 25 hours of driving time later, we could take the test (although most of us had been behind the wheel when we were 14 or so). We had graduated liscensing too, but I forget how that worked. It wasn't such a big deal. Illinois drivers have to get retested every five years as well, if I remember correctly. And older people have to get their eyes checked frequently (maybe every 1 or 2 years). They also have to take the driver's test more often after they reach 60 (or was it 55...?). ...Its quite obvious that I'm young and thus not very knowledgeable about laws for the elderly. But the point is, changing laws to be more stringent are only a pain in the ass for the first couple of years, then everyone will be used to it.

I do like the idea of having traffic related first aid training. Everyone should also have to do a mock 911 call so they have to practice remembering everything they would need to tell operators.

GretchenJP 10 years, 4 months ago

"I think it maybe ought to be pushed to 17. I think a lot of drivers are responsible enough at that age, and a lot of families need their children to be able to drive around to make things work. "

  • Jeff Briscoe, copy chief, New Orleans

What the heck is a copy chief?

jayhawklawrence 10 years, 4 months ago

I would like to see some kind of mandatory safety training applied as a penalty for anyone caught driving unsafely. I would suggest a warning for the first time in most cases. I constantly see very unsafe driving on K-10 where cars simply follow too close for no reason other than the thrill it gives them. Many times you see convoys of cars driving too close at high speeds. Then there is the constant weaving in and out at high speeds. Studies have shown that this does not result in a significant time savings for them but greatly increases the risks for them and other cars in the area. I don't think the police monitor this enough.

In town drivers do the same thing. It needs to be stopped.

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