Sophomores begin process of obtaining driving licenses
Getting your driver’s license is a milestone for many teens. Normally during sophomore year, students are working to obtain their driving permit or license. It is a process that often brings new stress or fear into their lives, but usually excitement.
Often, students perceive that a license comes with freedom or a free pass to do whatever they want. Hunter Nale, ‘20, sees earning his license as an opportunity to hang out with friends more, but he also believes it to be a privilege.
“When I get my license, it will mean a lot to me,” Nale said. “Mostly because my parents will let me drive to my friends houses. I live really far away so I never really get to hang out with them that much. I view it as a privilege because I get to go and do a lot of things on my own and go places I don’t normally get to go to.”
Often that is not the case. Some parents set rules and boundaries that are more strict, such as curfews, how far and long you can drive and the places you can travel to. Some students think that having these rules is unfair. Charles Gong, ‘20, understands the rules his parents set in place are for his safety.
“I will have a curfew and have to tell my parents when I go somewhere,” Gong said. “These rules are in place for my safety and so I don’t get in trouble with the police. And yes, I agree with these rules.”
The State of California has passed rules and laws which apply directly to teen drivers. The California Drivers Handbook states there are restrictions as to what hours teens can be on the road and whether or not they can drive other people.
“During the first 12 months after you are licensed, you cannot drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. and cannot transport passengers under 20 years old, unless accompanied by a California-licensed parent or guardian, a California-licensed driver 25 years old or older, or a licensed or certified driving instructor.”
According to the California Drivers Handbook, teen drivers have a greater risk of injuries or accidents compared to older, more experienced drivers.
“Drivers 15 to 19 years old have the highest traffic conviction, collision and injury rates of any age group,” the handbook states. “Traffic collisions are the leading cause of death for teenagers. If you are under 18 years old, your risk of a fatal collision is about 2½ times that of the ‘average’ driver. Your risk of an injury collision is 3 times higher than the average driver’s risk. Teenagers as a group average twice as many collisions as adult drivers, while driving only half as many miles. The teenage collision rate per mile is four times greater than the adult driver collision rate per mile.”
Megan LeBlanc, ‘20, fears not being quick enough behind the wheel to react to a potential dangerous situation.
“My main fear about driving is not being able to react fast enough and getting into a crash,” Leblanc said. “This fear comes from almost being hit before and seeing other people driving carelessly on the road while growing up.”
The California DMV recently tweeted out a tip to avoid unsafe drivers and potentially avoid collisions. Their website also offers other ways to improve the odds on passing a driver’s test.
Increase your following distance and allow for a bigger space cushion for drivers who may be potentially dangerous. https://t.co/QT5QcO64o5
— CA DMV (@CA_DMV) February 13, 2018
Many students become nervous before taking their license and permit tests and often set aside time to practice driving or study. Sophomore Kayla Vanderlinden was nervous for both tests and felt stressed out while balancing school and the test.
“I was really nervous for both tests because I really wanted to pass the first time,” Vanderlinden said. “It added stress because I was worried about school and sports and trying to pass. The permit test was less stressful because after, you’re just driving with your parents. But the license test was my freedom and I really wanted to pass that one. I got it as soon as I could because I couldn’t wait any longer. I studied the night before for both tests and made sure to drive to school every day for practice. This did pay off because I got 100% on both tests.”
Students look forward to the opportunity to drive but recognize the fears and rules. Some are more nervous than others and some parents set more rules.@thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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