[Opinion] Teens should be more motivated to get their driver’s licenses

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Students should get their driver’s license early instead of putting it off until senior year. Around senior year, students tend to be too busy to learn to drive.

Anna Horowitz, Photographer

For many, getting their driver’s license is a huge milestone in their lives. It marks a point where they become more responsible and take one of the steps to becoming an adult. However, a portion of teens have decided to put off the opportunity indefinitely.

In recent years, teens have been delaying getting their licenses until they turn 18 years old. As reported by a University of Michigan survey, the percentage of seniors in high school having their drivers license dropped over 10 percent from 1996 to 2015.

Delaying getting a driver’s license avoids the responsibilities of taking care of your vehicle, learning and following the law and abiding by the required one year holding period with a permit. Some reasons teens may be hesitant getting their license is because they are scared of accidents or the prices of insurance. Nonetheless, many of the benefits earned from licenses exceed the negatives.

Learning to drive later on in life isn’t something to be indifferent about; it will affect your abilities later in life. The longer you wait to get your license, the more dangerous the road is. According to the Washington State Department of Licensing, the older people are, the more likely they are to fail their first driving test, and drivers who are older and only had their licenses for two years have gotten more tickets than those younger than 18 years old.

When you wait to get your license, you miss important information and experiences like driver’s ed or permit practice that will increase how safe you are on the road. Besides that, there are so many benefits of being able to drive when you’re younger.

When you get your license earlier, you can become more involved socially and educationally. Instead of asking for a ride to different places, you can drive yourself and your friends. Driving also allows you to become more involved with school, since you can participate in more extracurriculars and meetings when you are dependent on your own transportation.

Additionally, teen drivers can become more independent and have a positive effect later in life. Driving displays how you can take on the responsibility of controlling a motorized vehicle that can be dangerous if improperly handled. You can also gain skills such as becoming more aware and careful of your surroundings.

While driving may cause fear in teens, there are approaches to introduce them to driving and convince them to take advantage of the opportunity. High schools could have presentations introducing driving and ways to obtain the license, and explain the benefits of driving to get teens interested. There could also be out-of-school activities where teens with permits could practice their driving for free.

As teens in Florida, we should feel privileged to have the choice to drive as early as 15 years old with a permit, compared to states such as Kentucky and New York where you have to be 16 years old for a permit, or California where you have to be 15 years old and six months.

The benefits of driving help one gain more skills and undergo meaningful experiences, on top of being a more educated and safer driver. As teens grow older and start advancing in high school, it’s best to have an independent responsibility. Students should take advantage of the opportunities presented and get their license sooner rather than later.