Behind the Wheel at 16



by Madison Lawson

“I never thought it would happen to me,” Senior Noah Holman said of his car accident. “It was the scariest moment of my life.”  According to, automobile accidents are the number one cause of death for adolescents ages 15-19. Getting a license is a thrilling experience for a teenager; freedom, hangout sessions, and endless trips to Chipotle are just a car ride away; therefore, it’s time to take precautions. With the recent death of a local Senior, it’s only natural that I raise the question: should the state of Maryland increase the driving age?

“I hate to say it,” exclaims Junior Alye Kesselman, “but teens are irresponsible. They pack their cars with friends and can get distracted easily.”

One of the most important lessons learned in my drivers education class is how to drive defensively; being aware of your surroundings at all times is vital when operating a motor vehicle. Defensive driving is a skill gained by experience, and as rookies, teens seldom anticipate dangerous situations.

According to the Chicago Tribune, researchers explain that “the teenage brain is vulnerable to distraction.”

“The front portion of the brain—which includes control of impulses, judgment and decision-making, and the coordination of multi-tasking—matures deep into the 20s.”

On the other hand, many independent adolescents would argue that a car is essential. Practice, after school meetings, and tutor sessions are just a few examples of the thousands of activities students partake in.

“No, they shouldn’t raise the age, parents have jobs and can’t always be there to drive their kids,” Junior Cameron Pitts said.

If you think about it, does age really matter?

“I see adults driving recklessly all the time,” proclaims Sophomore Kyle Richardson, “you could be 17 and drive better than someone who is 30, it all depends.”

The moral of the story is, do not attempt to drive a car with friends without some experience under your belt. As this controversy continues to spark throughout various states, no changes to the current law are in the foreseeable future. 16 and 6 months is the legal limit to get your license, and my guess, is it will stay that way. Instead of preventing adolescents from driving, the best thing to do is to encourage everyone to drive smart; think about what you’re doing, before you get behind the wheel.