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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Young Adult Infantilization

And so we begin the annual process of infantilizing young adults.  I am speaking of the event that occurs each year when newspapers across the country publish articles right around graduation time about why we should raise the age for young adults to acquire drivers licenses.  They quote statistics and publish headlines along the nature that 15% of all accidents involve 16 year old drivers.  Or, in states where the age has been raised to 17 the headline remains the same but the age is raised.  I would submit to you that if the age was raised to 18, 21, or 42 the statistics would remain the same but with a different age.

Let's face it, young adults tend to live up or down to our expectations.  If we expect them to act responsibly by and large they will.  But if we keep telling them how unable they are to achieve one thing or another they come to believe that as well.  Here's a suggestion.  If 16 year olds are involved in 15% of all car accidents, let's let them drive and ban everyone else.  That would eliminate at least 85% of accidents and probably reduce the 16 year old accidents as well due to all those other cars being off the road!!

Let's face it.  Airplanes cause death and injuries, lawn mowers cause death and injuries, and although I'll leave it to others to research the data I would suspect that 150 years ago horse drawn plows did the same.  Admittedly, young adult driving can result in tradgedies but so can lots of other activities. The fact is that this is not an intrinsically safe world that we live in.  Shit happens but get off their backs.

Increasing driving ages only makes young adults more dependent and that is not something we should be working toward.  I want those kids to learn to be independent and to learn to make decisions on their own.  In most states young adults under the age of 18 can be legally married with parental consent.  Raising the driving age might be a boon to cab and limosine businesses since young adults won't be able to drive to their own weddings but in today's economy it will be tough to fill those jobs since people can make more money by being on unemployment but that will be a topic for another day.

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