Driving force

Some students have been driving without a license

ILLUSTRATION+COURTESY+OF+FREEPIK

ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF FREEPIK

Despite the possible risk of not being able to obtain their license, students at RUHS take to the wheel without legitimate experience to enjoy a few minutes of fun on the road. Although many students have already passed their driver’s test and are able to drive freely, there is still an increasing number of kids driving illegally. 

According to The Law offices of Howard Kitay, as of 2018, over 1.3 million crashes in the United States were caused by teens aged 15 to 20. In fact, the risk of crashing is highest at the age of 16, which is typically around the time teenages start driving. Not only is illegally driving unsafe, it can threaten a teenager’s ability to earn their license by suspending it if pulled over by an officer and ticketed. Some may even receive the punishment of six months in jail or a $1,000 fine if it’s a serious enough misdemeanor. 

“Of course I know the risks,” student Jane Doe, whose name has been replaced to preserve anonymity, said. “Even though I don’t have a permit or license yet, I still like to drive around and listen to music to help empty my head.” 

When asked if she thinks it’s worth the risk, she replied that while driving is risky, she enjoys going for drives to visit friends or use it as an outlet for frustration.

“I personally think it’s worth it because it’s a way for me to relax or calm myself down if I’m angry, or it lets me go see my friends in case I need some time away from my family,” Doe said.

Another student, Johnny Appleseed, says that although he does have a permit, he still has not earned his license to be able to drive alone. His reasoning for getting behind the wheel isn’t for leisurely purposes, but to help around their household. 

“A lot of times my mom asks me to drive to the store for groceries if she’s too busy to do it herself since she’s at work until really late,” Appleseed said. “I’m always really careful when I drive because I know if I get pulled over by a cop, I could get into a lot of trouble.” 

Other than helping his mother, he doesn’t ever drive around for fear of getting caught by the police. 

“One of my friends actually did get pulled over by a police officer and was by herself in the car with only a permit. She was lucky enough to get off with a warning since the officer was nice, but she’s been extremely careful ever since,” Appleseed said.

One student had even admitted to having gotten caught by her parents after coming home from driving around with friends. 

“It was pretty late at night, so I assumed my parents had gone to bed. But when I came home, they were waiting for me in the living room. They got really upset and wouldn’t let me get my permit until after I turned 16.” 

When asked how she felt about this, the student explained how she felt “annoyed because they would have to wait longer to drive independently” yet understood their parents’ reasoning and for worrying about their child’s safety. 

It’s a major risk to be driving without legal certification, yet the increase in drivers without a license continues to soar. Although the rules and regulations tell underage teens and those who have yet to earn driving authorization to stay off the streets, many choose to take the high road and drive anyways. “It can be scary to drive without an official license, but it’s nice to be able to have that freedom of going anywhere I want.”