San Diego County has had a rash of auto accident fatalities in the last few years involving elderly drivers and teenage drivers. There has been plenty of discussion in local media about when the elderly should stop driving, but now, after another tragic accident involving local high school students, questions are being asked about when a person should start driving.
Today’s Union Tribune has an article entitled “Age isn’t best way to know when teens are ready to drive,” which addresses these very questions. Many law enforcement and medical professionals believe that too many parents are allowing their kids to drive despite signs they are not ready.
“It’s really about parents setting limitations and reinforcing that driving is a privilege and not a right,” Bharath Chakravarthy, a professor of emergency medicine told the UT.
A study conducted last year by the Auto Club of Southern California found that while teenagers make up only 4% of the driving public in California, they are responsible for 14% of personal injury and fatal automobile accidents. The burden is on the parents, experts say, to determine when thier children have the requisite maturity to be safe drivers.
Office Brian Pennings coordinates the teen driver program in East County and believes that parents should not be afraid to impose driving restrictions if the child is showing irresponsibility in other areas of his or her life.
“If they are not responsible in other aspects of their life, what makes you think they will be responsible when they drive?” Pennings said.
Of the 2.1 million drivers in San Diego County, 77,400 are teens.
Source: San Diego Union Tribune
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