Barely a month ago, the papers featured the news of an 8-year-old boy driving his 4-year-old sister to McDonald’s for a cheeseburger. After the parents had fallen asleep, the kids had taken the van out.
It turns out the kid had learnt to drive by watching videos on YouTube. People who saw him drive and reported to the police had commented that the boy obeyed all traffic rules and drove the van effortlessly. This incident took place in Ohio, United States of America.
In this age of information explosion, information is easily accessed by anyone through the internet. Video platforms are flooded with how-to tutorials. Kids learn almost everything at a younger age a compared to the previous generation.
This fact brings us to the debate on whether the legal driving age should be lowered. While 8-year-olds are definitely out of contention, the debate rages if 16 should be made the legal age to drive.
What Do The Experts Say?
Experts are of the view that lowering the legal driving age will do more harm and risk lives. But the argument on the other side is that lowering the minimum age to drive by two years will have no difference as 16-year-olds have the same logical reasoning as adults.
While it is true, their social and emotional development is relatively immature, 16-year olds tend to seek novelty and risk. It is a stage of rapid development and teenagers of this age are most susceptible to peer pressure and distraction.
Statistics also reflect that the countries which have a higher driving age also have lesser teen deaths caused by crashes. Even in developed countries where motorists abide by the traffic laws and the traffic is managed effectively, underage driving could be potentially harmful. Inexperienced and under-age drivers would cause complete chaos and mayhem on our poorly planned, congested roads.
Facts About Indian Roads
Indian roads are one of the busiest and even trained drivers find it challenging to navigate our streets. India has one of the worst accident rates in the world with over 2 lakh fatal crashes taking place in a year. The top reasons contributing to this are speeding, tailgating, drunken driving, distracted driving, etc.
India with its minimum legal age for driving being 18, has more than its fair share of irresponsible drivers flouting traffic lights and exceeding speed limits. In the recent past, we saw reports of underage drivers ramming their luxury cars and killing innocent people in a drunken drive. Lowering the legal driving age to 16 would pose a severe risk to life and property.
Reckless driving is a threat to public property and everyone on the road. Keeping in mind the safety concerns it would be best for the legal age to drive to remain as 18 years.
If the Indian government brings it down to 16, then God save the pavement dwellers.
Legal driving age