Teenage Drivers

Moreover driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs multiplies the risks of car accidents for these teenagers. Backed up by several statistical evidences, facts, and medical researches, most of the people are of the view that children should be at least 18 years old to get a driving license. (Davis, 2005)
However, many people also believe that the sweeping statement blaming all young drivers should not be made as there are only a portion of the total teenage drivers that cause the major chunk of accidents (Davis, 2005). Several people, including parents, prefer having their children be able to drive as soon as possible so as to lessen their burden of having to drive their children to schools and universities and after school events such as parties and movies.
The statistics show that every year about 5500 to 6000 teenagers lose their lives in car crashes proving it to be the most common way for a teenager to lose his life (valdes-dapena, 2005). There are many factors contributing to this.
Teenagers are most likely to take risks. These risks might be influenced by various sources including emotions and peer group pressure. Other stresses caused by their busy schedules, considering that a lot of teenagers in many parts of the world attend school and universities and work at the same time, also contribute to taking risks (Ipp, 1997). Moreover, the young high school or college going children, are often under the influence of alcohol and marijuana while driving. Put bluntly, beginner drivers simply lack the experience and ability required to carry out the simple looking yet complex tasks associated with everyday driving and hence controlling the vehicle at high speeds especially in response to hazards that might be done quite easily by an experienced driver, may become very difficult for young drivers. As the sun sets, adolescents behind wheels become even riskier (Ipp, 1997).
The Medical Aspect
Scientists at the NIH campus in Bethesda, Md., have found that the careless attitudes and rash emotions that influence teenagers’ decisions are due to a crucial part of the human brain that remains undeveloped until the age of 25. This part of the brain is responsible for influencing better decision making and impulse control and is among the latest to build up (davis, 2005). This NIH research was led by Jay Giedd, chief of brain imaging in the child psychiatric unit at the National Institute of Mental Health.
Jay Giedd, along with a team of professional researchers, analyzed 4000 brain scans from 2000 volunteers to record how brains develop as children grow up and mature. His analysis illustrated a very important point. An area of the brain, called the dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex, remains under developed until the age of 25 (Davis, 2005). This area helps a person to ‘look further ahead’ and make sound and mature decisions. Due to the slow process of this area’s development, as the children’s bodies grow physically, their hormones encourage more risk-taking and thrill-seeking. But as the hormones ignite the limbic system which is responsible for responding to pleasure, emotions run high. These emotions cause difficulty in making the intelligent judgments needed

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