Is the “One Year” Rule Worth Following? Pro

D. Louie

Katherine Doyle

The “one year” rule stipulates that newly licensed drivers cannot drive passengers under the age of 25 until they have kept their license for one year. Students and parents are aware of how often this law is broken. Should the driving rule be maintained or scrapped?

The driving law that restricts teenagers from driving others under 25 years of age until they have held a license for a year is a laudable and effective rule.

Fundamentally, disagreement over the “one-year rule” is distilled into a value system: either you value the safety of young drivers or you are concerned about the enjoyment of company on the road.

It’s no secret that teens driving their friends are far more distracted than those who drive solo. According to Allstate Insurance, almost half of teen driving accidents involve vehicles with one or more teen passengers. It is far more likely for young people to conduct risky behavior on the road in the process of impressing those in the passenger seats.

Take a current example at Miramonte. Many of us have noticed a boy or two who unnecessarily speeds in circles around the junior parking lot; they always have at least one friend in the car. Alternatively, how would it look to be crazily and aimlessly speeding through a crowded parking lot alone in your car? Clearly not as cool.

Acquisition of a license does not equate with “good driver.” Everyone of us knows at least one teenage driver who makes us question the sanity of DMV proctors in our area. Needless to say, teenage drivers still demand the practice and experience necessary for becoming safe and responsible drivers.

Peer passengers demand the attention that the driver should be aiming at the road, pedestrians, and other cars instead.

Not only should drivers be weary of driving their friends, the friends themselves should be weary of the hazardous and irresponsible situation they are committing themselves to. 61% of teenage passenger deaths occurred in vehicles driven by their peers, according to a 2007 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Potential outcomes of the peer driving habit look a bit shabby under the light of this data.
It’s true that this law is hard to enforce because drivers can only be pulled over if they’re seen committing another driving offense. But that’s the inherent beauty of this law– the responsible teenager driving their sister to piano practice can get away with helping out the family, while the irresponsible teenager speeding down Moraga Way with a friend in the car gets punished quite severely. It’s actually one of the more fair and decent laws in the books.

According to The National Teen Driver Survey presented by State Farm, 90% of teenagers see peers distracted by inappropriate passenger behavior. This statistic is noteworthy because our own age group is admitting that driving with passengers in the first year is particularly dangerous.

Repeal of this law would only cause an increase in accidents and death, with car crashes already the leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. The convenience and company of driving friends is not worth the risk of injury, increased insurance, and possibly the fatal loss of that company that you valued in the first place.