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Raising the Legal Driving Age Research Paper

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Updated: Nov 13th, 2021



In the summer of 2005, a driving accident took the life of sixteen year old Alicia when she was out with her sixteen year old boy friend. What was most shocking was that Alicia was wearing her seatbelt, but when her boy friend lost control of the car and the car rammed into a utility pole, the sixteen year old daughter of Dr. Arturo Betancourt was killed instantly (Stafford). One cannot help but feel that perhaps there is much more to driving regulations than the abiding of speed restrictions, seatbelt obligations and traffic signals. The driver was sixteen year old as was the passenger. In the very same regard, numerous arguments have been made in the debate of whether or not the minimum driving age for teenagers should be increased from sixteen to eighteen.

Common ground

A large number of teenagers agree with the fact that the number of increasing accidents involving teenagers is largely because of the submission to adolescent influences on the part of the teenagers (The Standard Times). In a survey performed by The Standard Times that shall be referred to later on in the paper as well, teenagers tend to consider the driving license as a sign of freedom and a key to a carefree world. They begin to see speed and risk as instruments from which they can derive thrill.


There have been speculations that the origin of the increasing number of teenage casualties has been because of the tendency that teenagers have to accelerate to precarious speeds without using the seat belts. By violating basic rules such as speed limits and driving instructions, teenagers put themselves in positions where their decisions become threats to their own lives.

Cost and Consequence

This motion has also been seconded by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety in the United States which has shown a considerable amount of doubt regarding whether or not 16 remains an age suitable enough to allow teenagers to drive (Dawson College). This statement was given by the institute only after extensive research had been carried out on the subject. The minimum driving age has become the subject of debate in Canada in light of recent accident trends pertaining to young drivers in the region. It is estimated that road accidents take away five thousand (5000) teenagers from their parents every year.

Problem/ Thesis

In light of the facts stated above, the thesis statement of this paper is that the minimum driving age should most certainly be raised from sixteen to eighteen years of age in Canada since it is the only remaining option to decrease the increasing number of teenage road accident casualties.

Opposition claim

However, there is criticism that the solution of the problem does not lie in increasing the minimum driving age but in improving the standards of education of driving education. Teenagers are of the opinion that by increasing the minimum driving age from what it is now, the number of problems created will be more than the number of problems solved.

Reason for opposition claim

In a survey performed by The Standard Times, it was observed that teenagers are of the opinion that having attained their driver’s license they have become free of all obligations related to their transport issues (The Standard Times). They begin to consider and rely upon the option of over speeding to carry out strenuous daily schedules.

Transition based on contrast

However, this does not change the fact that road based driving accidents have now reached a point where they are regarded as the number one killer of teenagers. The graduating license system appears to be doing its job in the regulation of deciding who gets to drive and who does not, but it appears that the system requires assistance, in the form of an increase in the minimum age of the people who are allowed to take the test.

Thesis evaluation claim

Just as was discussed in the last report, this report also chose to draw the reader’s attention to violent, rash and irrational nature that youngsters choose to adopt when they are driving unsupervised (Kelly and Nielson). The report states that in times when youngsters are unsupervised, the chances that excessive speed will be complimented by drinking and a desire to drive without seat belts begins to dominate.

Reason for thesis evaluation claim

At this point, we can draw a significant inference that there is another deeper element that causes youngsters to drive precariously. This element is the fact that youngsters choose to regard the vehicle as an object that is meant to provide them a means of entertainment rather than one that is meant to provide them a means of transport. In this perspective, the subjects choose to concentrate more on their personal selves than on the environment in which their vehicle is moving. The strengthening of this perception through peer pressure and the like causes the focus to move from driving the vehicle to using it as an instrument. However, the fact that the changing of the perception does not change the rapidly moving environment around them causes a clash of actions to take place. This clash of actions is when the accident occurs and damage is suffered by more than one party in most cases.

Supporting evidence

However, this is not the only research study that has revealed complications in the current driving license regulation of the system. Another study by Mary Kelly and Norma Nielson has revealed that merely passing the testing procedures that have been put into place for giving licenses are not enough to evaluate precisely whether or not a person can be a responsible driver when on the road. The report evaluated the driving trends of aged drivers as well as young drivers (OECD/ECMT Transport Research Centre, OECD, European Conference of Ministers of Transport, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations. Economic Commission for Europe). In relation with younger drivers, the analysts found that there was an element that could not be replaced with practice in the case of teenage drivers. This element was experience. The analysts found that if there was a similarity in the driving accidents in cases of teenage drivers, it was the lack of driving experience that the young drivers had. The report showed that experience allowed drivers to exercise a better understanding of the road signs and serves to allow the drivers to exercise more practical techniques when compared to novice drivers who choose to rely on tips and techniques that they have recently learned of or have only read about before.

The report highlights that novice drivers are able to manage physical and mental tests in controlled driving conditions during driving tests and practices but the complete change in surroundings that they come across when they have to drive on actual terrain puts them into a position to which they have not been exposed to before let alone hold any experience in (Brown, Larson and Saraswati). The report stresses on the point that in times like these, a task as simple as that of changing lanes can become one that can be seriously misjudged and may lead to an otherwise avoidable accident.

Logic behind support

Even though every province in Canada has adopted varying procedural systems to implement a sound system that ensures that only fully trained people are allowed to drive, we can infer from the accident toll that there appears to be a chink in the system that is being overseen by the process that is implemented in the training of drivers.

Needless to say, the move to increase the minimum driving age comes as a revision of a previous decision to allow teenagers to drive at the age of sixteen, but it appears from the casualty counts that the decision has been one that has been taken undue advantage of and the level of sophistication that was expected was not something that can be expected from the mind of a sixteen year old of the modern day world.


Recalling of thesis statement

This brings us back to the thesis statement of the paper about the concern for the fact that the minimum driving age in Canada should be increased if the thousands of lives being lost every year are to be saved.


Should the minimum driving age be increased, it will be a measure that will allow for the purpose of saving lives to be achieved.

The increase in the minimum driving age will allow for teenagers to be kept under adult supervision for the period of their ages that they are most vulnerable to the quips of adolescence and submission to peer pressure.

Negative implications

However, if the minimum driving age is increased and the measure is implemented, we must be wary of the fact that teenagers will not comply with the altered law almost instantly but will have to be taught to do so and that violations of the altered law can be expected for which traffic regulation enforcement agencies should be trained as well.

Prelude in light of consequences

Had the minimum driving age been already increased, countless lives would have been saved. Perhaps had Alicia’s boyfriend chosen to drive the car at a low speed, Alicia’s parents would have had the opportunity to be blessed with the sight of seeing their daughter graduate.

Warrant for conclusion

Therefore, we can conclude from the discussion in the paper that the claim to increase the minimum driving age is indeed well justified and is a measure that should be taken if thousands of lives are to be prevented from being lost every year.

Works Cited

Brown, Benson Bradford, Reed Larson and T. S. Saraswati. The world’s youth: adolescence in eight regions of the globe. Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Dawson College. “Is 16 too young to be driving?; Insurance Institute wants age raised.” The Gazette (2008): E. 5.

Kelly, Mary and Norma Nielson. “Why Age Matters.” CBCA Complete (2006).

OECD/ECMT Transport Research Centre, OECD, European Conference of Ministers of Transport, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, United Nations. Economic Commission for Europe. Young drivers: the road to safety. OECD Publishing, 2006.

Stafford, Rob. The perils of teen driving. 2005. Web.

The Standard Times. Teens speak out on speeding. 1999. Web.

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