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Study: Teens should wait longer to drive

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – A new study from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety said states could cut teen crash deaths by as much as 50 percent by toughening up their license requirements with five new standards.

Those new requirements would move the minimum permit age of 16, the minimum license age of 17, require at least 65 practice hours with parents, restrict night driving at 8:00 p.m. and also put teen passenger restrictions in place.

Currently, the driving permit age in Arizon is 15.5 years old and teen drivers are required to have 30 hours behind the wheel with their parents. However, age might not be an issue when it comes to driving.

“If we wait until they are a little older, we are getting them licensed at a time where parents have less control over them” said Maria Wojtczak, an instructor at Driver MBA in Scottsdale. “They’re off to college, and then where are they actually learning to drive and with whom?”

Wojtczak believes the predominate problem involving teen driving accidents is rooted in a lack of experience. She recommends that her students get over 100 hours of training with their parents outside of any driver’s education courses they are taking. She also stressed that parents need to take that training time more seriously.

“If [parents] don’t log their time with their kids they have no idea how much time they are spending,” said Wojtczak. “Parents have this inflated view of time — if they’ve spent 20 minutes with their kids, they feel like they’ve spent an hour-and-a-half with them.”