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Driving without a roadside exam: good or bad idea?

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Last April, Georgia passed an executive order stating that drivers were no longer required to take a roadside test in order to obtain a driver’s license. Last week, as many as 20,000 teenagers were issued a driver’s license without having taken a roadside test. To me, this is a scary statistic. Yes, they all had previously obtained permits and had completed the mandatory driver education requirements, but the theory is one thing, and the application is a whole other. 

I am 18 and have had my driver’s license for almost a year now. When I was getting my license, I took my time. My father made sure I drove as many hours on the road with him as possible. He made me see the value in experience. By the time the roadside test had come, both my father and I felt pretty confident that I would pass the test and would be ready to drive a car by myself. However, what me and my father thought of my driving skills didn’t matter. As tedious as my dad was in making sure that I was as good of a driver as possible, he was still my father and couldn’t be completely neutral in judgement. This is part of the reason why a roadside test is so important. Regardless of how confident you think you are, you still need an expert who will fairly judge whether or not you are ready to drive a car by yourself. 

Many teenagers are already overconfident when it comes to driving. My younger brother, for example, came home one time boasting, “I’m such a good driver!” after having driven only three previous hours with my dad. 

Another concern is that car accidents amongst teenagers are already extremely common. According to the CDC, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teens ages 16-19 than among any other age group. In 2017, 2,364 teens in the U.S. aged 16-19 were killed, and about 300,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. This decision will most likely only make these numbers go up, and it certainly won’t make them go down.

The potential consequences of this decision are disastrous. Regardless of how the effects of this decision are, it was still an extremely risky one.

 

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    Carol CorganMay 20, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Great job, Alex.
    My husband has an insurance agency. I can attest to the fact that it is often the case that no sooner does a young driver get her/his license, then they have their first fender bender. Insurance companies charge lots more for young drivers for a reason.

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    Pam ValeirasMay 20, 2020 at 3:30 pm

    Loved this article! As a mother of four boys, I think it’s a bad idea for sure! Like in your article, one of my sons stated the exact thing after driving around for the first time: “I’m such a good driver!” He then mistook the brake for the gas and promptly drove our Suburban through the garage door! Road tests are important!

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