Inexperienced Drivers On The Road: Should Teenagers Be Allowed to Drive Without a License Test?

Teen drivers aged 16-17 remain the highest accident risk group.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Teen drivers aged 16-17 remain the highest accident risk group.

Jakirah Bowman, Staff Writer

When Covid-19 hit, the Colorado DMV had to close and cancel approximately 25,000 appointments. To prevent a Covid-19 outbreak in the DMV, they only accepted appointments and not walk-ins when they first re-opened. COVID-19 has put a toll on everything that we would call “normal”. Many places are trying to “normalize” this situation, and the DMV is trying to do that in many different ways. In some states across the U.S., namely Georgia, DMVs are allowing teen drivers a restricted Class D license without taking the formal test.

Should 16-year-old aspiring drivers be able to get their license without taking the road driving test? In California, Alabama, Colorado, and Delaware, all prospective drivers have to show proof of having 50 hours of behind the wheel driving before being able to get their license. To get your license at the age of 16, you should have to take the road test. If you are not a good driver, you should not be able to get your license until proven competent. Some teens, and even adults, may need more work on their driving.

In 2017, 2,364 teens from the ages 16-19 were killed in car accidents, and 300,000 were treated in a hospital with multiple injuries. Not all of them may have caused the accidents, but 4.4 percent of them have caused most of the car accidents in their age group. Studies have shown that the age group with the most accidents is 16-17. Why would we put more teens out there driving especially without taking the road test?

When commenting on whether or not students should be allowed to drive without the road test, Doherty High School Senior, Deztine Carter, says, “No, because without it, you are not able to assess your ability to safely and confidently operate a vehicle.” If you cannot show someone that you are a good enough driver to be driving by yourself, then you should not be driving alone.

Jordan Authier, who is another student at Doherty, states, “I would feel unsafe because they didn’t even drive on the [road,] so who knows if they can actually drive safely or they just say they [can].” I agree with Jordan.  I would feel unsafe if there were teenagers driving on the streets that did not have to take the road test.  I would not know if they are fully prepared for driving alone. I heard that some people were nervous, and it was harder to drive without having someone else in the car with them.

However, not all teens are scared the first time they step behind the wheel… Hunter Lacy, who grew up on a farm, explains why it wasn’t different for him: “It was normal, I was driving on the same roads as I was with someone when someone was in the car with me.”

JaQuale Brooks, who is the parent of a student at Doherty High School, and has their license, speaks out and says, “I do not agree because there needs to be some checks and balances for them, meaning an experienced driver watching them drive and telling them areas of improvement that are needed.” Devon Richardson, who also has their license and is a parent to the same student at Doherty, gives his opinion. “I disagree. It is careless and premature. Anyone can pass a written driving test, but driving experience is even more valuable.”

In the state of Colorado, if you are under the age of 18, you have to at least be 16 years old to get your permit without taking driver’s education. You have to have your drivers permit for at least a full year before you can get your license. Any teens between the age of 15 ½ and 16 have to complete driver’s education or a four-hour driver awareness course and get a driver’s awareness permit. If you are aged 16-17, you can get your license and permit without taking any of those courses. You will be eligible for a Minor Instruction Permit. In summary, 16-year-old wanna-be drivers should not be allowed to get their license without taking the road test.