Trend: Rebels without a car
In New Hampshire and in much of the United States, an increasing number of teenagers are delaying getting their driver’s license until adulthood. Once a rite of passage for the American teenager, it is now common for young people to catch a ride with a friend or relative or, if the weather permits, walk or bike. Although it may have its upsides, this trend has policymakers perplexed and safety experts concerned.
According to a study done by the Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 32 percent of teens say they did not get a license because it was too expensive. According to a 2015 report by InsuranceQuotes.com, adding a teen driver to a married couple’s insurance policy increases rates by 80 percent. According to Forbes, New Hampshire teens and their families have the worst insurance policy increases of any state, with an average premium increase of 111 percent.
Aside from the costs,the whole process of getting a license is time-consuming. The required driving hours have steadily increased, ensuring the welfare of teenage drivers with more training. Teenagers find it hard to commit to extensive hours of driving, added to school work, extracurricular activities, and other commitments.
According to a study done by the Michigan Transportation Research Institute, 37 percent of teenagers said they simply did not have enough time to get a license.
"I didn’t get my driver’s license yet because I am too busy with other extracurricular activities," said South junior Shane Lopez, "and I don’t have enough time to do driver’s ed."
Sophomore Suma Cherkadi agreed.
"I didn’t get my license because I don’t have enough time to take driver’s ed. I’m too busy with other activities."
However, some students have different views.
"I haven’t gotten my license yet because I am not confident with myself," said South student McKayla Varela. "I finished my driver’s education, but I still need to complete the 40 hours with my parents, and I won’t go for the license until I am confident with myself."
Teenage driving has often generated a public view of being unsafe and reckless. According to a survey performed by the National Safety Council, 24 percent of parents cite unsafe driving/car crashes as the largest concern for their teenage kids.
"The ages are low, and the distractions are high," said teacher Matthew Fenlon.
Safety experts are concerned that young drivers are simply going down to the DMV and passing the test, rather than getting driving hours with a parent, taking driver’s education and abiding by the restrictions of a youth operator license while new to the road. This may result in an increase in the rate of car accidents among drivers.
South’s Anirudh Naidu can’t imagine life without a license.
"I got my driver’s license because I’m able to go to extracurricular activities and other places I need to be at without being dependent on my parents. In the long run, it’s easier for me and my parents."