Watch Out: New Teen Drivers Hit The Roads

Skye Isenblatter, Reporter

  Teen driving is every parent’s fear when their child reaches the age to start driving. Many parents worry about things such as texting and driving, drunk driving, and accidents that can seriously injure or kill their child. Many parents rely on texts saying “I got there safely,” to calm their mind. However, there are some things that the teens can do such as driver’s education to better prepare for driving and ease their parents’ minds. 

   If a parent chooses to pay around $400 for their child to go to a driver’s education class such as Certified Driving School in Highland and Crown Point or Rite-Way Driving School in Highland or St. John, the student can receive 30 hours in the classroom learning about the rules of the road, how to prevent accidents, how to drive in the rain and snow, and much more. Students who take a driver’s education class also are required to do six one hour-long drives with a certified driving instructor. On the drives, the student learns how to do angle parking, parallel parking, turning, switching lanes, and more. Parents generally feel much better knowing that the child is prepared for their license, knowing that they know the proper technique for driving. 

   If a student takes a driver’s education class, they are eligible to get their learner’s permit at age 15 as long as they are enrolled in the class. They must show proof that they are enrolled in the class in order to take the test at the BMV. They also can get their license when they are 16 years old and 3 months, as long as they hold their permit for 6 months and 50 hours of driving outside of class. Without a driver’s education class, teens must wait until they are 16 years old to get their learner’s permit. They must also hold their permit for 6 months before they can get their license at 16 years old and nine months. 

   In high school, many students begin to learn how to drive. Because students usually reach the legal driving age of 16 within their sophomore year, sophomores obtain their license in this grade more than others. This is a concern for adults and parents since they are still young and learning how to be more mature. 

   Griffith High School Resource Officer Peter Ghrist believes that teenagers are involved in more accidents due to inexperience and distraction. “We can help prevent accidents by teaching defensive driving, which is the most important thing I learned from my mom when I started driving as a teenager,” said Ghrist. 

   Many students find the freedom they get when they have their license exciting. They don’t have to rely on their family members or friends for rides when they have to go somewhere. They also can go out with their friends more freely because figuring out rides is no longer a setback. However, driving with friends causes distractions that an inexperienced driver cannot handle. That is why every new driver must hold their license for six months before driving other minors. It is natural for a teenager to want to listen to loud music, joke around, and drive recklessly. However, those are the things that can cause accidents that can seriously injure or kill people.

   “Passengers can cause accidents by making too much noise and blasting the radio, which can result in a serious accident,” said Ghrist. 

   Junior Damian Villalpando just got his license. He believes that driver’s education is not completely necessary. “I didn’t take it, but I still passed my driver’s test really easily. However, it would’ve been nice to be able to get my license sooner,” said Villalpando.

   “If I could offer any advice to new drivers, it would be to keep confident while driving and always pay attention to your surroundings,” said Villalpando.