Driving is quite liberating, a rite of passage for most American teenagers. It means freedom from parental oppression, is a way for an adolescent to have some of the responsibilities of an adult. Most teens get their driver’s license around 16 or 17 years old, during their sophomore and junior years of high school.
Teens spend hours after school, nights on the weekends, driving around with their friends. It’s a major part of their lives, with social, even spiritual, implications. However, though it’s a major part of the adolescent experience, it’s still taken for granted – not just the privilege, but dangerousness of it. And it’s because of this that the number of passengers should be limited to just two people in cars driven by minors, one of which being a licensed drivers, as well.
Why just two passengers in teen-driven cars? First of all, adolescent drivers just aren’t experienced enough drivers to ride around with a car packed full of other people, especially other teens. It’s too distracting for them. They aren’t thinking about safety, about a safe-driving speed, aggressive drivers on the road, etc. What’s on their minds? Popularity, looking cool and having fun are important to them – teens think they’re invincible. There are not anticipating the unexpected – a deer in the road, a drunk driver, an accident up the road. Any teen driver is too self-absorbed to think that when they are driving a car, they are at the wheel of a loaded weapon capable of taking the lives of others. They just aren’t thinking of these things. It’s not important to them. They just don’t yet have the driving experience.
A federal law should be put in place limiting the number of passengers in teen-driven cars to just two for one more important reason: With fewer drivers in a car, there are fewer distractions.
Teens are notorious for spending too much time on their iPhones, totally ignoring everyone and everything else around them.
They don’t have the attention span to safely drive a car full of other people; and if that car is filled with loud, self-absorbed attention-seeking teens, it’s even harder for a teen driver to focus on what is important: driving safely to a destination, protecting its passengers. And that is virtually impossible when there are too many people in a car driven by an adolescent.
Not only should teen-driven cars be limited to just two passengers, a licensed driver, regardless of their age, should always be in the car with a teen driver unless they are driving in the car alone. This way, that licensed passenger can help the young, inexperienced driver as a passenger – aiding them in paying attention, stopping when necessary, and when to ignore rowdy, distracting drivers. Licensed drivers also use their own experience, even if limited, to get the car safely to its destination. And this notion of legally mandating a licensed driver to ride as a passenger in a teen-driven car holds the driver more responsible – it holds them to a higher standard, because they realize this passenger, the licensed driver, will be watching them and keeping them focused, which will most likely make the teen driver a better, safer, more attentive and mindful driver.
Let’s conclude this argument, that the number of passengers should be limited to two people total in cars driven by minors, one of which being a licensed driver. It should be no other way, potentially legally enforced in every American state. Repercussions should be extreme, as to scare young drivers into obeying the law and realizing that a car is a weapon when not driven responsibly and safely. Of course, several teen drivers are assuredly good drivers with a good perspective, who are responsible and mindful of how dangerous driving truly is. But the majority of teens do not, to the full extent, realize the potential disasters that come with driving, consequences that too often lead to premature death and serious injury. And if teen drivers are limited to just two passengers at a time, one of which being a licensed driver, then driving-related accidents will lessen, and the road will be a better, safer place for people to travel.