Support Older Novice Drivers: Build Awareness of the Trend in Licensure
Parents ideally raise their children to become independent and “fly the coop” so to speak. They work hard helping their children to develop the skills of life, maintain healthy and consistent relationships, and to be able to build a family with someone they love and eventually do what they did – raise children of their own.
Many kids and teenagers attribute the pinnacle of independence to getting that driver’s license. No more asking Mom or Dad to take them on an errand. Now they can shop, socialize, and just explore much more easily. Driving has serious ramifications though and we will discuss many of them in coming posts. So stay tuned. I was inspired to write a series of posts as this week, October 19-25, 2014 is National Teen Driver Safety Week otherwise known as NTDSW.
Focus of this year’s NTDSW
- What this year’s National Teen Driver Safety Week awareness campaign is addressing is the interesting fact that many teenagers will delay getting their licenses until 18 or later. Delaying getting a license can be positive in that kids too young to drive won’t be driving until they are ready. It also can mean that there are those who did not have the means to pay for the education and are now getting their license later with fewer requirements, namely a GDL.
- Many youth may choose to drive unlicensed before the age of 18 simply because they cannot afford the requirements of the GDL.
- In cities where there is ample public transportation, driving a car can be delayed and recommended. However, as mentioned, there are the educational and experiential deficits to be considered as well.
In fact, one out of three teens will get a license at 18 or older without the protective benefits of Graduated Driver Licensing also known as GDL. Read more here.
- Obtaining a license without proper education (GDL) is legal but not recommended.
- New Jersey is the only state that requires a GDL until the age of 21.
- Novice drivers – regardless of their age – are more likely to get into automobile accidents. Those getting licenses at 18 are more prone to having more accidents during their first month of driving than those who have gotten licenses earlier. That is, even though they are older they still do not have the education or experience.
- Raise the GDL minimum age to at least 20 in the rest of the states.
- For those who get licenses at 18 or older due to socioeconomic factors, at least give yourself the education you need to be a safe driver. Parents – please take notes.
- Read up the permit booklet. Learn the rules for driving especially for your state and those you’ll visit.
Practice makes perfect. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Ask an older friend, mentor or parent to accompany you to practice parking, driving both in heavy city traffic and easier areas.
- Only practice your highway driving after you’ve attained certain proficiency with city driving. Know hoe to change lanes, check your mirrors consistently, know who’s around you.
- Take a few inexpensive lessons to brush up on your driving skills. Even if you’re not required to get the GDL (which can be much more time consuming and expensive) at least get some professional guidance for 3 or so sessions. I did it and it proved to be very valuable and affordable!
These suggestions are from me and from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
All in all they are basic and intuitive suggestions which anyone can come up with.
When your child comes to you requesting to get their license, know that they are trying to become independent. Help them in this process; just guide them to do it responsibly as well.
Enjoy this short video on safe driving tips for teens from The National Safety Council.