Many mini opinions on driving

There’s usually a countdown that occurs when you’re close to getting your license, but when you’re in a town that’s only four square miles, it’s easy to let the time fly by. It seems like I walk everywhere in Decatur: from school, to the nearby grocery store, to a friends house. There are so many unique things that litter our city; beautiful, intimate houses, enchanting gardens, and the most interesting people that you will ever meet. To me, what was once just a mile and a half home from school turns into a walk in which I ran into an old friendly friend, listened to a guy who plays the trumpet every Friday on the square, and smiled at the mayor as he goes on his occasional afternoon walk. When you’re driving in a car, you won’t experience any of these things- it’s just a blur and haze through all the gas guzzling traffic. While driving, in fact, is a luxury, there’s so much that you are missing on the other side of that car window. – Audrey Baxter

I sat in the car, sweat gathering between my palms and the faux-leather steering wheel. I had been 16 for a day shy of a month, and the anticipation to get my fresh, class D licence was squirming about my stomach in a very serpent-like and rightly ominous manner.
For me, getting my licence was about gaining the freedom and independence to come and go from my home, (a good seven slightly questionable miles from everything glorious in good ole’ Decatur) and to be eligible and practiced enough to drive whomever I please by the time my parents grace me with my terrific first car.
I think that’s what gets me most.
If you think about it, it’s important to get a licence before you really want to drive, so there’s time for improvements and adjustments before the hankering for your very own Georgia tag eats you up. I’d venture that the desire teens have to drive their own car makes them delirious of the road, especially if they are also super psyched to be driving alone the first time.
It’s double trouble.
So keep your priorities strong and separated, go for the class D before the desire for it (and the old Civic in the garage) gnaw away at your gut.
Seriously, the Honda will wait. – Kira Hynes

Considering I live smack in the middle of Decatur at about a ten minute walk away from not only the elementary school, but also the middle and high school, my dad has always “encouraged” (required) me to walk to school throughout my years of education in Decatur. And to walk to my friend’s houses. Walk downtown, to the park, to swim practice- walk everywhere you can.
Not too long ago, I hated walking everywhere. As the years have passed, I have actually begun to enjoy it. Walking as the norm has made me more appreciative of when I do get an air-conditioned ride somewhere agreeably far away. Plus, living in Decatur, I can really go anywhere I want to in town simply by putting one foot in front of the other. I don’t have to buy gas, or pay insurance, or clean a car- simply because I don’t really need a one.
But that’s about to change.
Going out of state for college is extremely appealing to me. Unfortunately, I can’t exactly walk from North Carolina back to Decatur. And I’m sure whichever town I end up going to college in will not be nearly as pedestrian friendly as Decatur is.
I’ve decided to enjoy my carefree, driver’s license-less, money-light mode of transportation for as long as I can. Sure, I have to buy a car at some point, and I guess I should learn to drive soon… but not yet.
So I say, walk everywhere you can. – Claire DePree

Just a day after turning 16 and I was ready to be out on the road. The huge grin I sported on my brand new license resembled the one plastered on my face. I couldn’t wait to roll my windows down, blast some music and drive around on my own. Finally having that independence couldn’t have come any sooner.
“Many parents feel that 16-year-olds are still too immature to operate a motor vehicle,” said Ashley Nalley, vice president of Taggart’s Driving School. This may be a case for a select few of new 16-year-old drivers, though this is a time to really exemplify responsibility. I, like many of my peers, was in charge of scheduling my driving school, driving instruction hours with a trained personnel, making time to practice and of course- the dreaded test. Showing my parents I was able to take charge let them see that I was ready to hit the road.
Students that choose to get their license when they are 16 are required to take a driving class as well as a instructed driving hours- all of these not mandatory if you choose to wait till you are 17. Starting early ensures the proper guidance you’ll need to learn the necessary skills for driving.
Driving also takes the burden off of parents to organize their schedule to chauffeur their kids. They’ve spent years driving from countless practices, recitals, and the daily drive to and from school. Getting your license no longer requires that awkward ‘Hey, can you come pick me up?’ phone call. So students, give you parents a break, show them how responsible and hit the pavement, because, let me tell you, they don’t call it a Sweet Sixteen for nothing. – Meredith Broyles

I’ve always loved driving. The only reason that I didn’t get my learner’s permit and driver’s license on my 15th and 16th birthdays, respectively, is that, on each occasion, I was not physically in the country. Driving is one of the true few freedoms that a high school student can enjoy.
In addition to the potential freedom of being wherever I wanted and whenever I so felt, getting my license meant responsibility, and lots of it. Cars aren’t cheap. Nor is gas. Nor insurance. Such circumstances remind me of the famous quote from Spiderman — “with great power comes great responsibility.” Yeah, but with great responsibility comes great power!
The idea of independence has always delighted me, and driving is the perfect outlet for my infatuation with maturity. To those who wait on their licenses, I respect your decision. You must, however, find your own niche of self-sufficiency. Young people rapidly nearing independence need a taste of responsibility before full-fledged freedom, and it is imperative that we don’t just get thrown in the deep end when college starts. Driving fulfills this important checkpoint in developing into an adult. It is due to the significance of this major step in our lives that I say, When it comes to driving, the sooner the better. – Wilson Witherspoon

A drivers license photo is rarely flattering. For many at DHS, it seems that to flaunt a license, one must have a car to go with it. To add to it, a fifteen dollar parking spot in the upper lot.
Coming from a student who lives only a three minute walk from the high school, there’s hardly a need to have any of the previous. But at times when underclassmen need rides, it has become a moment of embarrassment to admit to not having a license.
It’s almost common Decatur knowledge that the boundaries of the city are four square miles. Coming from a student who lives on same street as DHS, a little over a three minute walk, there is no need for local transportation in the case of having a license. Oakhurst, Winona Park and the Great Lakes (to name a few) are all not only dominated by families with kids in the City of Decatur School systems; all three are within walking distance.
It can’t go without saying that there are many students at DHS who do not live within walking distance, or those who do not have the funds to purchase their own car. But for many it seems that having a car to park in the upper lot is merely an opportunity to flaunt the ability to legally put wheels to pavement.
While at times it can be a huge bonus, such as long-distance transportation and individual responsibilities, the idea of having a license has seemingly taken the form of a hindrance, or help, to social status. In reality it’s often an unnecessary waste of energy and a stereotypical expectation by teenagers nationwide on their sixteenth birthday.
In an article by Gracie Bonds Staples in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, it was found that less and less teenagers are getting their license in the early years of high school. I see this as a good sign. The less a license matters to social status, I say, the better.
The parking lot request forms ran out only three days after being printed this 2012-2013 school year. The slots are filled, the upper lot’s potential only being heightened at the thought of students socializing before and after school.
I’ll be taking a trip to the DMV in November to get my license, but there will be no room for any wheels of my own at DHS.
That’s fine by me. – Lucy Phipps-Kaye

When I was a little girl I couldn’t wait for the independence that came with driving a car, at least that’s what I thought. As I was slowly approaching my 15th birthday I became aware of the adult problems that came with a car like the car price, insurance, gas not to mention the risk of an accident occurring. Because of these new problems I was apprehensive about getting in a car let alone driving one. So I waited until I was 16 to get my permit.Even after I got my permit I waited six months before I started driving a car with my parents. I felt responsible for not only my life but also the lives of others on the road. In a 2009 statistic by the CDC eight teens ages 16-19 die everyday from car accidents. I wanted to make sure I did everything in my power not to become a part of that statistic. So I chose to wait until I was confident enough with the road rules and my personal skills before driving on the road.
Now at the age of 17 I can drive independently with the greatest respect and concern for my fellow drivers. Waiting to get my license helped me gain the knowledge and confidence I needed to be a safe driver. The days of responsibility and independence will come soon enough, for now I am content with spending the remaining days of my childhood riding bikes and walking to the park. – Fikrea Tesema

The full year of preparation for independently driving a car was nothing but a long list of tedious tasks with which I grudgingly complied. The hype I had before turning 15 was completely deflated due to all the classes I took and “maturity” I obtained.
When parents make the argument that 16-year-olds are still too immature to operate a motor vehicle, I follow up with the question: “Well that’s a little bit of a generalization, don’t you think?” Maybe their kids lack the basic maturity level needed to drive, but they don’t know me, or the thousands of other teens who wearily follow the current system of dreadful classes and and lessons.
I guess the people that made these requirements are the same ones who believe that a sense of maturity is actually gained in this year-long process; as if before, a teen is incapable and after, that teen is transformed into an able driver.
While the process does give confidence to those who fear driving and it does teach essential rules and laws to new drivers, it excessively expounds instruction to those who are “more comfortable” on the road.
I have two older siblings who survived the requirements of the old set of motor vehicle laws in Georgia. They are successful drivers with a comparable driving record to someone who has gone through the new structure. This new system with an additional requirement of six months of supervised driving and 30 hours of driver’s ed seems completely unnecessary to me.
While I needed to learn how to drive and learn the rules of the road, I feel that a more advanced set of instructions should be implemented and offered as an alternative for those who feel suited for it.
Granted, parents’ permission along with extensive reasoning would be needed for this alternative. If an option like this is unrealistic, I advise teens that don’t feel “scared” of the road to wait until age 17 when those requirements don’t apply. After all, the sense of free will when driving is the reason we’re all in it anyways, right?
Despite all the unsatisfying time spent preparing for driving independently,the moment I got in my mom’s old ‘97 silver Saturn station wagon, drove it around alone and felt that it was mine was the coming-of-age milestone I anticipated all along. – Charlie Shew

Before I got my drivers license I was never that excited about driving. It seemed pointless. Why drive when I can get to any place I want by foot?
That attitude changed as soon as I got my license.
The first time I drove by myself was an experience I’ll never forget. No parents acting as professional backseat drivers. No more hours to fill out in a driving log. No more tiresome days at Taggart’s. Finally I had my freedom.
Or so I thought. Yes I could still drive, but my parents started asking me to run errands or pick my sister up from her friend’s house.
At that point I realized that driving is more than a metal escape capsule from parent land. Getting your drivers license is a privilege that comes with a big responsibility.
This privilege comes with maintaining a car, learning to navigate, and dealing with distracting situations. Once learned, these skills can be rewarding from a maturity and fun standpoint.
Responsibility sounds bad, but it’ll pay off. All of those days getting milk from the grocery store will be eventually be mixed with entertaining excursions with friends. A car gives you a larger fun radius to have experiences that you would never have if only meandering with friends through Decatur.
If you can maintain the responsibility of driving a car and respect the privilege, driving can be a rite of passage through the real world.
Don’t wait for your license. No matter the attitude, the earlier you get your license the better. – Sam McLemore

According to cdc.gov, in 2009, eight teen ages 16 to 19 died every day from motor-vehicle related accidents in the United States. Do the math. In one year, almost 3000 teenagers died from car crashes. That is not an insignificant number. This is not a problem which is to be ignored.
Sixteen is too young to drink. Sixteen is too young to watch an inappropriate movie or listen to an explicit song. So why should a sixteen year old have the right to take the wheel of a high-speed, dangerous and deadly vehicle? The answer to this question is simple – they should not.
An American citizen becomes a legal adult at the age of 18. Every right that an American has – whether it be drinking a beer or driving a car – should be acquired when one turns 18. By waiting to allow teenagers to get their drivers licence until they are 18, thousands of lives can be saved, and millions of dollars in car damages could be avoided.
It is a commonly known fact that teenagers make poor and stupid decisions. According to the Department of Driving Services’ website, teenagers statistically wear their seatbelts less than their adult counterparts, drive under the influence more often than grown-ups, and apparently possess a worse “feel for the road” than adults.
There are many things that our government cannot control. Terrorism is out of grasp, and the economy runs a path of its own. But preventing teenagers to get their license is completely possible, and easy to enforce and implement. By changing the driving age, thousands of children’s lives could be saved. – Sam Levy