Becoming a licensed driver is such an exciting event in your life. If you are like most teenagers, you have been counting down the days to your 16th birthday for quite some time now.
Being a driver means you are one step closer to becoming an adult―and with privileges like driving, you also have adult responsibilities. Keep in mind that while driving can be exciting and fun, something this empowering isn't to be taken lightly.
Facts About New Mexico's Teen Drivers
No one wants to bum you out about applying for a new license, but you should know that New Mexico has the second-highest crash fatality rate for teens in the United States. Sixteen-year-olds are the most likely to crash out of any other drivers. Also, it is estimated that 14% of all fatal car crashes involve a teenage driver somehow.
Common causes of many teenage car accidents include:
- Driving while intoxicated (DWI)
- Failure to obey signals
- Distraction (using a cell phone, changing the radio station, etc.)
Scary, isn't it? Well, it doesn't have to be that way. There are measures you can take to make sure that you don't become another teenage statistic.
New Mexico is trying to do its part by establishing new rules for teenage drivers. In 2000, the state passed the Graduated Driver's Licensing (GDL) law. The purpose of this law is to make sure that teens gain adequate experience behind the wheel before they are given full driving rights.
Anyone under the age of 18 who wants to apply for a learner's permit must complete three stages before earning a full license. In addition to the GDL law, New Mexico has issued a curfew for teenage drivers between midnight and 5 a.m. However, there are work, religious, and emergency exemptions to this curfew.
Protect Yourself and Others
Some people argue that teenagers are incapable of assessing the risks involved with driving a vehicle. You can help to prove them wrong by practicing good judgment. Defensive driving is the key to safety while out on the road. And driver education courses are specifically designed to teach new drivers how to properly conduct themselves behind the wheel.