Advantages and Disadvantages of Driving Age
All countries of the world use a certain system to regulate the acquisition of the right to drive. The main component of the system is the driver's license. The possession of a driver's license enables a person to drive vehicles like motorcycles and buses if they have the correct requirements that are necessary to acquire the said license. Thus, the national government has the ability to monitor and limit the number of drivers that are able to drive motorcycles, cars, trucks, and similar forms of transportation. Not everyone can walk into a government agency handling the issuance of licenses and ask for one. Applicants have to go through a process. The most common requirement is the age of the applicant. In most countries, the age limit is 18 years of age. There is an agreement that at this age teenagers are more mature and, therefore, they can handle the responsibility of a motor vehicle. On the other hand, the 18 year bar is considered a major limiting factor, considering that the ability to drive a motor vehicle is necessary for ease of transportation and a chance to earn a living. In other words, highly qualified workers may not be able to get a particular job not because they are not skillful enough but only because they do not have a driver's license. Arguably, there are safety concerns regarding the reduction of the minimum requirement for the acquisition of a driver's license. This study aims to understand the opinions of the respondents to the survey as to the advantages and disadvantages of changing the required driving age from 18 to 16 years of age.
The survey attempts to understand the advantages and disadvantages of a particular driving age. The researcher conducting the study finds the topic interesting and wants to know the opinions of others regarding the aforementioned subject matter. The researcher utilized the quantitative method, because at the end of the survey it is easier to see the result, especially if it is tabulated in some form of a graph. In other words, it is easier to interpret the outcomes of the survey. At the same time, the researcher made the decision to use this type of format, because it will be easier for the respondents to answer the survey questions.
At the heart of the qualitative research method is the survey. The survey included 10 questions. The said ten questions satisfy the minimum requirements needed to conduct this type of research activity. The proponent of the study used different types of questions in the survey. Different types of questions used were as follows: demographic questions; dichotomous questions; multiple choice questions; rating scales. The questionnaire form that is the main component of the survey was sent out by using SurveyMonkey.
SurveyMonkey was used because the adviser for the research method recommended and endorsed the use of the said system. The researcher is not familiar with the features of SurveyMonkey himself. Therefore, he faced difficulties. It was challenging in the beginning, because it was his first time using SurveyMonkey. It was a serious challenge to create questions using the website. However, after repeated use and constant practice, the said website became a critical tool in the survey process. The survey was uploaded through survey monkey on the 16th of May, 2016, and it was made available to the respondents until the 21st od May, 2016.
The researcher decided to send the survey link to friends, colleges, and relatives through the WhatsApp and Instagram applications. All in all, there were a total of 65 potential participants, and the survey links were sent to them via electronic means, instant message features of social media sites, and other viable communication platforms. The potential participants of the survey were chosen on the basis of personal knowledge about them. It has to be pointed out that convenience also played a major role in the decision to choose them as the respondents. These are the main reasons for selecting them, besides the fact that the researcher wanted to know their opinions regarding this particular issue. The survey links were sent to 65 people and of that number 53 people responded and answered the questions found in the said survey.
The ages of respondents can be divided into two groups: 18 to 35 and 46 to 60+. Both genders participated in the survey and the nationalities were Arab(gulf), Arab(non-gulf), Asian, and westerner. There were three questions which were skipped by one person and there was a question that was skipped by two people. There were four questions skipped by other people.
With regard to the first question, around 48 percent of the respondents answered yes. However, following closely, around 45% of the respondents answered in the negative. There were only 8% of the total respondents who were undecided. At first glance, the survey revealed that the majority favors the reduction of the age limit. If the survey represented the sentiments of the general public and if a lawmaker were to use the said results to create a law that would require the transportation office to amend the rules and regulations for the acquisition of a driver's licenses, then one could argue that there would be a greater probability that the age limit will be changed to 16 years.
Regarding the second question the answers were mostly yes which was expected. Around 62% of the people who answered this question chose yes. 30% of the respondents did not agree with the idea that the reduction of the age limit will result in a significant increase in the number of driving related accidents. Based on the results of the survey, only 8% were undecided when it came to the questions linking the age of people and the maturity to handle a motor vehicle. This question was answered by 53 people and the number of people who skipped it was 0. It focused on an important fact that was the idea that reducing the age limit will also increase the number of accidents in the streets. This became a problematic aspect of the research design because if 48% agreed to the lifting of the limit, so that 16 year old teenagers are given the chance to drive, then, it is confusing to find out that 62% answered in the affirmative when asked if a new rule will increase the number of accidents.
With regard to the third question, the highest percent of answers to this question was yes, which the researcher did not expect. If there was a 48% positive response to the question regarding the reduction of the age limit, then,it does not make sense for them to say no when asked if they would allow their children to drive.
The forth question was answered by 52 people and it was skipped by 1 person. The highest percent of answers to this question was yes, which is around 52%. The no answer was chosen by 30%. The answer choice do not know was picked by 18%. The high percentage of the respondents who said yes to the question also forces the proponent of the study to review the research design, because if the majority believes in allowing 16 year olds to drive a car, then they should have a positive mindset regarding the mortality rate, since they also believe that lowering the age limit increases the mortality rate. It also means that they do not have full confidence in allowing 16 year olds to drive cars.
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In the beginning, it was difficult to reconcile the answers to the survey. The first survey question seems to suggest that there was an agreement that it is possible to change the minimum requirement. Almost half of the respondents believed that it was acceptable. However, as the analysis moved on to the second, third, and fourth questions, the answers did not seem to match. For example, the second question that asks about the possibility that the number of driving related accidents will increase if the government reduces the age requirement, was answered positively by the majority. This is a confusing set of findings, because poeple claim to accept the reduction of the minimum requirements even if they believe that the number of accidents will increase. The confusion continues after the fourth question when the respondents said that the number of driving related deaths will be reduced if the government allows the reduction of the age requirement for driving licenses. It does not make sense.
One of the possible explanations of the confusing results is that there was no standard that was used to select the respondents. In an ideal scenario, the respondents should have been chosen randomly. The possible weakness was that most of the respondents were college students and they wanted to reduce the age limit so that they can drive cars, but at the end they realized that immature drivers will contribute to more road accidents.
If one will factor in the weakness of the research design that allows a great number of respondents that belong to the same age group, then it is possible to make sense of the answers. A possible explanation is that most of the respondents wanted to lower the age limit for selfish reasons. It is possible that they have confidence in their own capabilities judging from where they are standing now. However, when given the follow up questions that force them to link the young age of the drivers and the probability of accidents, they had to say that lowering the age limit will indeed increase the number of vehicle-related accidents. One can argue that they do not believe that a 16 year old is mature enough to drive a vehicle. This mindset was reinforced by the fourth question. In their opinion, lowering the age limit will increase the mortality rate when it comes to accidents on the road. Once again, it revealed the lack of confidence in allowing 16 year olds acquire driver's licenses.
With regards to the third question, the lack of randomness is choosing the participants and the lack of consideration of the demographics of the participants may have affected the outcome of the survey with regard to the question whether they will allow their children to drive cars. A possible error is the confusion of the respondents, especially those who do not have children. If a significant number of the respondents are teenagers or college students there is a high probability that they do not have children. Therefore, when they answered the question they were thinking about an imaginary situation. They answered the question based on their preference and not on the idea of whether it is acceptable to allow 16 year olds to drive cars.
I was interested to find out the reaction and opinion of the respondents when the survey question asks them about changing the driving age limit from 18 to 16. In the said survey almost half or 48% of the respondents said yes. However, the follow up questions revealed that although half of the respondents wanted to change the rules regarding the acquisition of driver's license so that 16 year old applicants can get a new one, the majority were concerned about the possible consequences of the said changes. It was clear from the results that the respondents were concerned about the rate of accidents due to underage drivers. This assertion is supported by various research findings. For example, in the study entitled Parental liability of underage drivers by Cavanaugh and Underage DUI or driving under the influence by NOLO, these studies support the idea that underage drivers are not yet mature and lacks the discipline to observe rules and regulations while driving. These findings support the findings that underage drivers will contribute to the increase of accidents and fatality rates due to driving-related incidents.
The researcher acknowledges the difficulty encountered in writing the questions and the difficulty in simplifying questions. It was difficult to write the appropriate questions that will be understandable to different age groups and people with various socio-economic backgrounds. The challenges encountered may have contributed to the lack of time and preparation in randomly selecting respondents and choosing only a sample population that could answer all the questions that were included in the questionnaires. As a result, one can see the confusing answers, because there seems to be no pattern or unity in the answers forcing the researcher to think whether the respondents truly understood the issue and its potential consequences.