Students who have received their driver’s license enjoy driving friends to and from school as well as going to local hangout spots to eat or spend their leisure time. Should recent license-receiving drivers be able to drive their friends directly after earning the license, or is the six month rule barring them from driving underaged passengers a fair enforcement for safety?
New drivers often get distracted by friends in the car, or even unknowingly put themselves and others in the car in danger with actions that seem small and harmless, such as changing a song or checking a text message. “We still have the problem of texting and driving or even being distracted by passengers in the car,” junior TJ Douglas said.
Safety when driving is a concern students, teachers and parents worry about, but shouldn’t students who have passed and received their license be able to drive passengers safely? “I think that when you get your license, you’ve earned the right to drive, and there’s no point in waiting longer to drive with friends,” sophomore Tiam Pourdarvish said.
Those who have received their license have underclassmen or friends who haven’t gotten their license who they hangout with or ask for rides from. “I get rides from my older friends and it’s a hassle to get them to get me one,” Pourdarvish said.
Driving around after getting your license is beneficial to students because it allows for more freedom and less dependence on adults. “You are able to get around more and open yourself up to new opportunities to now that you don’t have to rely on your parents,” Douglas said.
However, inexperienced drivers are not as mindful of safety. “Personally, I think students shouldn’t be able to drive right after receiving their license until they have a lot of experience and they are a good driver,” senior Janet Liang said.
Student drivers are aware of the responsibilities and dangers that come with driving unsupervised, but do not always follow them perfectly when driving, especially with friends. “One driving responsibility is making sure you are keeping yourself and those around you safe,” Douglas said.
Minors tend to think that it is unlikely they will get into an accident. Teens do not take into accountability the risks of driving other people when they are a new driver. “We are responsible for anyone in the car at our age and that’s a lot of responsibility to take, and the more people there are, the more dangerous,” Douglas said.
In accidents that result in damage and injuries by minors, the other driver may file a lawsuit. Parents of the minor usually pay for damages but if a legal judgement is obtained from a court that is “stating how much the minor owes, the minor will have to pay it upon coming of age,” according to AllLaw.
Students should wait to drive their friends around after receiving their license as safety and familiarity is more important than spending time with friends.