Waiting to Drive

Sweet Sixteen means getting your driver’s license, right? The moment you finally hold your very own license is much anticipated. However, not all teens immediately get their driver’s licenses when then they turn sixteen.

If you don’t get your license right after you turn 16, you aren’t alone. In a Highlander survey of 35 students, 43 percent of students with driver’s licenses got them anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year after turning 16.

If a student has friends with licenses, he or she may not be inclined to get their own.

Senior Melissa Shiner took her driver’s test and received her license October 30, 2013. She turned 16 in November of 2012.

“I wasn’t really interested in driving because I didn’t have a car, and I had friends who were willing to drive around places as well as the fact that I really didn’t like driving,” Shiner said.

She eventually saw that it was annoying to get rides from others so she decided to take segment two and the test.

Students also lack licenses due to not having a lot of time.

“I don’t have my license because I haven’t had time to take segment two yet,” Junior Mary Sheffieck said.

Sheffieck’s 16th birthday was this past August. She is planning on taking segment two and getting her license this December, four months after she turned sixteen.

Junior Julia Ross turned sixteen in November of 2012.

“I don’t have my license for two reasons,” Ross said. “One: I have been living overseas for two years, so I have been unable to fulfill my driving time requirements. Two: I have very protective parents.”

Ross lived in Italy for her freshman and sophomore years and recently moved back this past summer. She plans on getting her driver’s license this November.

50 percent of students surveyed that are 16 have not completed the required classes or have not taken the test.

Junior Tommy Glazier is 16, but he hasn’t gotten his license because he hasn’t taken the test.

Catherine Meleca, a Seaholm Spanish teacher, said she did in fact receive her license when she was sixteen, even though she grew up in New York State where the process was a little bit different.

Meleca said that most people did get their licenses right when they could and when they were of age. Anyone who didn’t have their license would have to get rides from licensed kids around town and to school to avoid taking the bus.

“So most of my friends did get their licenses right when they could,” Meleca said.

However, she said it wasn’t as big of a deal because it wasn’t as lengthy a process as Michigan has and because not many people got brand new cars for their birthdays.

“It is surprising to me here how so many students get their licenses and right away get brand new cars,” Meleca said. “That’s not something that was the norm when I was growing up, but it could be either a generational thing or a location thing. I don’t know.”

Immediately receiving your license at 16 is very exciting, yet not everybody has that experience.

“I would love to get my license. I want to get my license, but I can’t,” Ross said. “Having a license means having the freedom to be independent and an independent person.”

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