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Responsibilities burden teenage drivers

Cruising around the campus parking lot while music blasts, the 16-year-old seems desperate to draw the eyes and comments of fellow students to his new license.

Obtaining a driver license often becomes a priority for many upperclassmen who desire increased freedom and independence by being able to drive themselves.

“It is annoying that I can’t drive any where,” Frank DeFrancesco, ’10, said. “I have no freedom to do what I want to do since I don’t have my license.”

While many scramble to pass the permit test after the required age of 15 and one-half, some teenagers receive their license at an older age and depend on others for transportation throughout the day.

?Almost all of my friends have a license, but I don’t,? Anthony Wilson, ’08, said. ?It?s annoying right now to depend on someone to take me places. I can?t be independent for transportation and I can?t leave when I want to.?

Senior Katelyn Aydelotte, who acquired her driver license when she was 17, believes her independence benefited both her and her parents.

?I felt satisfied and accomplished when I first received my license,? Aydelotte said. ?A license gives me a lot more freedom to go to the things I want to go to. I don?t have to pester my parents to drive me places. It is more convenient for me and for them.?

Although many students look forward to the day they will attain their driver license, some parents proceed with caution when given the opportunity to grant freedom of driving to their minor.

?Most teenagers are not ready to drive at the age of 16,? Beatriz Foth, Spanish teacher and senior mom, said. ?Driving is more than just memorizing the rules of the handbook. While driving you have to be focused and constantly on alert for hazards.?

Whitney Chessum, ?08, chooses to run to most destinations due to her cross country and track experiences.

?I never really cared about driving,? Chessum said. ?Everything is nearby and when I need to get somewhere I can run.?

Although students can use alternative methods of transportation, some destinations require a car.

?Usually my ride arrives an hour late to pick me up,? Wilson said. ?I have to wait around for them, sitting and doing nothing until they arrive. Sometimes I can?t get a phone to call them.?

When transportation is not available, many students become stranded at different locations.

?One time I was at school and I couldn?t get a ride home until 8 P.M.,? Chessum said, ?so, I decided to walk 45 minutes in the rain, without an umbrella, to get home.?

Driving ability requires increased responsibility

With the increased cost of insurance and automobile prices, some teenagers find driving at the age of 16 difficult.

?I don?t have money for insurance or a car,? Wilson said. ?My parents and brother have a vehicle and they take me to the places where I need to go.?

In return for driving a car, students contribute to the cost of insurance or gasoline. With the price of gas exceeding $4 a gallon, many young drivers struggle to shell out the extra dollars.

?My parents give me a weekly amount of gas to drive to school,” Matthew Stumpf, ?10 said. ?But if I exceed that limit and I want to go to my own events, I have to pay for it myself.?

However, for teenagers desiring a license, additional responsibilities come with it.

?A license is a great thing to have, but it does have its bad points,? Aydelotte said. ?Sometimes my parents send me on errands and it is a hassle to do.?

A driving ability seems necessary after graduating high school and attending college without effective public transportation.

?I already took driver?s education,? Chessum said. ?I don?t really care to get my license, but now I need to get it, because I will need it for college.?

To attain a license, one must first enroll in driver?s education to learn the laws and guidelines of the road. After completing the class, teenagers must visit a DMV and pass the permit test. Before driving, it is necessary to complete one lesson of driver?s training before driving on the road with a licensed adult.

For safe driving tips, visit teendriving.com. For more information on the steps to obtain a driver license, visit Michelle Rose’s April 11, 2007, article, Conditions curb new drivers.

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