Driver’s Education Course Before Getting License, Research Paper Example

Pages: 1

Words: 1090

Research Paper

U.S. residents usually obtain their first legal driving privilege at the age of 16 through learner’s permit. Almost every state requires new drivers to fulfill certain obligations before they can be eligible for full-fledged driving license at the age of 18. But critics of the current system believe that the whole process still has significant shortcomings which may be why we witness higher-than average accident rates among drivers under the age of 21. They argue that even though the current requirements such as learner’s permit, supervised driving, and junior license do provide some basic foundation, a better alternative may be to require everyone under the age of 21 to pass Driver’s Education Course before qualifying for driving license. Driver’s Education Course is currently an option in many states including New York (DMV.org). The issue touches upon two basic rights in America which are one’s right to drive and the public’s right to safety on the nation’s roads and highways. The right course of action should be determined by weighing these two rights against each other and selecting the option which maximizes the overall welfare of the society. As the paper demonstrates, making Driver’s Education Course mandatory will not only improve the overall welfare of the society but will also personally benefit the young drivers.

One reason the Driver’s Education Course should be made mandatory is that Under-21 drivers are responsible for higher than average rates of accidents which demonstrates their lack of maturity and judgment skills. A study by the AAA Foundation covering the years 1995-2004 found that only 20 percent of teen driving occurred at night yet night driving was responsible for 50 percent of teen fatalities. The study also found that young drivers are involved in fatal traffic crashes at over twice the rate of the rest of the population and exceeding the speed limit is the most common error in fatal accidents by young drivers (RoadReadyWatchdog). Another example of the danger posed by inexperienced young drivers is the fact that as of April 2009, ten states which are Delaware, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and West Virginia had laws banning teens and new drivers from texting while driving (L., Precious, & Precious, 2009).

Driver’s Education Course will also help young drivers obtain lower insurance rates as well as decrease the average insurance costs for the entire population due to lower accident probabilities. This is because young drivers have lack of experience and poor driving record. In addition, young drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in an accident. Insurance industry goes to a great length when calculating risk because even little inaccuracies in their calculations could have significant impact on the revenues and overall profitability. But the fact that young drivers could obtain lower insurance rates by taking Driver’s Education Course and/or good academic record (Lienert & Lienert) demonstrates that educated drivers do have safer driving habits and pose lower risk to others on the road.

Education improves the quality of an individual’s judgment and makes him better-informed of the consequences of his actions. This is why society’s often rewards education positively whether in public or professional arena. Driving is no exception and the willingness of Insurance industry to reward the completion of Driver’s Education Course with lower insurance rate is an example. But the benefits of educated drivers are not limited to financial incentives only but also improve the overall well-being of the drivers and the overall society. Educated drivers have safer driving habits, higher confidence on the road, better risk perceptions, and better awareness of road rules (Autos.com).

The opponents of the mandatory Driver’s Education Course may argue that driving is one of the basic rights and mandatory Driver’s Education Course requirement will not only increase the cost of obtaining a license but may also prevent some from enjoying this right until they are willing to take the course. The opponents should realize that one of the reasons laws exist is to protect people from being harmed by others (Head). One has as much right to enjoy the privilege of driving as one has a responsibility to not pose risk to others on the road. Laws do have compliance costs but the effectiveness of any law should be determined by weighing the cost of implementing the law against the benefits it may bestow upon the individual as well as the overall society. In this case, the law will help the young drivers obtain lower insurance premium which may actually outweigh the cost of Driver’s Education Course. But at the same time, it will also improve safety on the road for both the young drivers themselves as well as others. The main reason why driving under influence is illegal is because the driver poses risk to others. An individual may choose to get drunk at his private premise and the law won’t punish him because his actions will most likely not hurt anyone. This is why Driver’s Education Course should be mandatory because the benefits to the society will outweigh the costs imposed on the society.

Even though Driver’s Education Course can be taken by anyone, it will be difficult to improve the proportion of young drivers who take it without making it mandatory. A study found that only 20 percent of teen drivers took any formal education program during the period 1986-1999 in Hawaii (Department of Transportation, State of Hawaii). Driver’s Education Course should be made a requirement and on an urgent basis because by doing so, we will be able to prevent huge social and economic costs that will continue to be incurred by the society as a result of any delay. The facts mentioned above should convince the readers that such a law will not infringe upon anyone’s right to drive but instead make sure that all of us have the education and maturity to enjoy this privilege responsibly.

References

Autos.com. (n.d.). Five Benefits of Driver Safety Education. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from http://www.autos.com/driving-and-safety/five-benefits-of-driver-safety-education Department of Transportation, State of Hawaii. (n.d.). Why Make Driver Education Mandatory? Retrieved March 25, 2012, from http://hawaii.gov/dot/highways/safe-communities/drivered/why.htm

DMV.org. (n.d.). Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in New York. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from http://www.dmv.org/ny-new-york/teen-drivers.php

Head, T. (n.d.). Why Laws Exist. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from http://civilliberty.about.com/od/historyprofiles/tp/Why-Laws-Exist.htm

L., J., Precious, H., & Precious, T. (2009, April 25). Supports grows to ban deadly texting while driving. The Buffalo News. Lienert, P., & Lienert, A. (n.d.). Insurance Rates and Discounts. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from Cars.com: http://www.cars.com/go/advice/Story.jsp?section=yd&story=ydIns&subject=yd_shop

RoadReadyWatchdog. (n.d.). Teens have the highest involvement rates in all types of crashes. Retrieved March 25, 2012, from http://roadreadywatchdog.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50&Itemid=57

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