Fewer 16 Year Olds Driving

I suppose what caught my notice in this New York Times piece is that kids had become terrified of driving. The caption under the picture reads: "Kelsey Sheffer, 16, of Bethlehem, Ga., says she lost the motivation to pursue a full license after she saw accident sites with a police officer. For now, her mother is happy to shuttle her around." It is true that youth have had higher accident rates, but you get some rough idea of the risk from the higher insurance premiums: "it now costs 80 percent to 100 percent more to add a 16-year-old to a family’s auto policy." The lack of subsidies for Driver's Ed training (with many schools no longer subsidizing the training) is also mentioned as a reason for the drop. I think that what bothers me most about the tone of the piece is the lack of understanding of trade-offs. Surely, reducing accidental car deaths is good, but it is not the only consideration. There are benefits to teenagers driving, just as there are benefits to adults driving. What is the cost in parent's time driving their kids around? What are the forgone opportunities of the kids because they can't be involved in certain activities? This seems like one topic that could benefit from some rigorous research.



Blogger Rail Claimore said...

I'm also inclined to believe that the age a person starts driving affects their driving skills. Does delaying the age one starts driving (from say, age 16 to 18) affect the accident rate of those drivers at say, age 25? Has this been studied?

2/27/2008 4:08 AM  

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