Wednesday, September 10, 2008


There's been some talk this week about raising the minimum driving age from 16 to 17. The insurance industry says a disproportionate number of serious accidents happen with 16-year-olds behind the wheel.

As Billy Martin used to say in the beer commercials, I feel strongly both ways. I can make cases for increasing the age or keeping it where it is. I will says this: If the bean counters say younger drivers are the most dangerous, who am I to argue?

But age doesn't guarantee safety.

Consider this anectode:

As I was glancing out the office window this morning, I noticed an elderly gent walking slowly to his car having just completed some business here. The man shuffled through the parking lot, presumably to an auto driven by someone else.

Wrong. The car door he unlocked was his own. Nobody was inside waiting for him.

I watched the man settle in. Then I observed him take an agonizingly long time to fasten his seat belt.

Finally, the engine ignited and the gentleman pulled out of his space and exited right onto Hurley Avenue.

I hope he'll be fine. Unlike some youthful drivers, this fellow isn't likely to be caught speeding. But I have to tell you, there was something about watching him that made me uncomfortable.

If we raise the minimum age for motorists, should we put a cap on the other end?
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