Raise the Age?

By: Ilyssa Trussel
By: Ilyssa Trussel

Crystal Meeks has been playing ball for years, but she’s only been driving on her own for months and already she’s been in an accident.

“I got in a wreck when I was 16 and I wasn’t really paying attention. I was messing with the radio.”

Meeks is all for raising the driving age from 16 to 17. The mature drivers bill introduced by Florida Rep. Irv Slosberg seeks to do just that.

“The reason is distraction with other friends, music, they wanna speed, race against their other friends," said Meeks.

Her softball coach, Frank Johnson, is also a high school drivers ed teacher. After 13 years of teaching driver safety classes, he says he understands teenagers take risks on the road.

"We’re having a lot of teenage accidents because of attitudes, not ability. They come to me with driving experience, but it’s the attitude that they have of getting away with things just driving aggressively," said Johnson.

AAA has done the math and agrees young, novice drivers are the most vulnerable, but instead of increasing the age, it wants an increase in experience.

“There need to be more restrictions on the first year experience driver who can ride in that vehicle with them, the times of day people can ride in the vehicle we need to have more guidelines for them," said AAA Assistant Manager Brenda Smith.

The graduated licensing law, which favors experience over age, is already in place in Florida, but AAA says it’s still working to strengthen and enforce it.


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