In June, Governor Roy Cooper passed House Bill 158, stating that drivers in North Carolina could get their limited driver’s license without taking the road test. A limited driver’s license allows unsupervised driving from five a.m. to nine p.m. Under House Bill 158, drivers are not required to take the road test in order to receive the limited license, but are required when receiving a full provisional license.
This Bill, however, still allows for inexperienced, teenage drivers to be alone on the road for six months before adequate testing is done. According to driving instructor Sarah Castro, 80% of teenage deaths are due to automobile accidents, and most of those deaths are due to user error. When North Carolina passed House Bill 158, they disregarded the inexperience of teenage drivers and put their citizens in danger.
It is no light thing to be in control of an over 2,000 pound metal vehicle. There is a reason why getting a driver’s license is a multi-step process that is undergone over multiple years. By skipping steps, the state is undermining the significance of being in control of a car. Think about the traffic and accidents that the West student body and staff see on a weekly, even daily basis. Teenage drivers already have the reputation of being poor drivers due to their lack of experience. Statistics support this claim and there is no doubt that the safety precautions and steps that have been in place for years should not be ignored. If drivers can get on the road without professional testing, more and more accidents could occur which means more traffic, injuries, and even more daunting statistics.
With House Bill 158 in place, any teenager could walk into a DMV with forged paperwork and walk out with the ability to be on the road all by themselves. Though drivers are required to have been through drivers’ ed, have a learners permit for 12 months, and have logged 60 hours of practice with an adult, forgery and lying is still a valid concern. These teenagers have the ability to lie about their 60 hours and still get a license without proper testing. This is extremely dangerous because practice is vitally important to learning a new skill. The road test is in place to prevent teenagers who are not adequately prepared to be on the road.
Each year, over one million people are killed on roads around the world. The road test is in place to try and prevent some of these deaths. House Bill 158 threatens this number to continue to rise.
By: Amanda Jane Whiting, Feature Writer