The Dangers of Teen Driving

The Dangers of Teen Driving

Marie Sgroi, Reporter

Driving is not a freedom, it’s a privilege. As a teenager, I know one of my favorite moments was when I passed my road test. Having the ability to drive is very liberating, but it’s important to be aware of all the consequences and risks …especially teenagers. We 16-19 year olds have the highest average of crash rates of any other age group. Coincidentally most motor vehicle deaths occur on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays—days that teenagers are mostly out driving.

Why are teenagers known to be such risky drivers? The most common reasons teenagers get into accidents are: poor hazard detection, low risk perception, risk taking, not wearing seat belts, lack of skill, alcohol and drugs, carrying passengers and night driving. In response to why teenagers take such risks, I’ve learned from Ms. Burke’s Psychology class that there are four main parts of the brain which develop starting from the back ending at the front. An adolescent’s brain first develops physical coordination, emotion and motivation and lastly the Prefrontal Cortex develops. The Prefrontal Cortex is in charge of controlling reasoning and impulses which doesn’t fully mature until the age of 25. Unfortunately, this is what leads to unpredictable and rebellious behaviors in a teenager.

“There haven’t been any major accidents, but there are definitely signs of erratic driving especially with our high school students,” says Brandon Ciappina, a senior at Wantagh High School. When an anonymous student was asked about what they have noticed on the roads they replied, “You definitely see speeding, no regard for other people, driving on peoples lawns, and texting.” Surprisingly, when I asked a few others, their responses were similar. Teen drivers should not be taking advantage of our new freedom, not only are we putting ourselves at risk but we should be more aware of the safety of our passengers and others on the road as well.

“It was honestly a freak accident; I was turning by Wantagh Library, a few days after getting my car, I didn’t notice the new sign about no turning on red and the lady on the opposite side, at the last second decided to change her blinker and go the same way as me. We crashed, it was the scariest thing, it all happened so fast.” This student who will remain unnamed, shares the experience, admitting how it opened up their eyes to the real world. Most of us believe that it will never happen to ourselves so we continue to speed, refuse to wear seat belts, and pull stupid stunts, but sooner or later we will all realize that driving is not something that can be taken for granted. Some of us will be lucky to walk away from accidents…but some may not be. Our community works hard to keep our students safe. High school students, please help keep our community safe by being cautious drivers and show awareness of your surroundings.