While the number of car accident related fatalities has dropped in recent years, the number of automobile accidents itself is the highest it has been since 2004 according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2009, there were 10.8 million accidents in the United States. Looking at these statistics, it is apparent that some form of driver re-education is in order. Here are 3 reasons the United States should make it mandatory that drivers retake the driving test every 8 years.
1) Things change. If you look at a driver’s manual from 40 years ago and look at one from today, they are very different. While the premise of how to drive is relatively the same, all of the rules, laws and regulations change from time to time. Not only that, but people tend to forget some of the seemingly less important things we learn in driver’s education. How many times have you been at a 3-way or 4-way stop and no one knows what to do, who goes first or who has right of way? How many times have you come across blinking red or yellow traffic lights and the cars in front of you are not reacting to it the same way you would? If you pay even the smallest amount of attention to other driver’s on the road, it is surprising how many, even if you are only travelling a short distance, act and react differently, not just from you, but from each other. Mandating that everyone retake the driving test every 8 years, both written and practical, would ensure that most of us are on the same level.
2) Reduction in the number of accidents, both fatal and non-fatal. It would be extremely hard to argue that there would not be a reduction in the number of accidents if everyone was required to retake the driver’s test every 8 years. It would not only better educate drivers so that costly mistakes are not made as often, but would also ensure that drivers unwilling or unable to follow the law cannot legally drive. As it stands, once you get a driver’s license at age 16 or 17 depending on your state of residence, you are licensed for life unless you commit an excessive number of violations. This only exacerbates the situation as once you learn bad driving habits you are never forced to correct them. Just because you have not been in any accidents does not mean that you have not caused any. Practice makes perfect and the more often you have to remind yourself or forced to be reminded on how to drive safely, the better you will be at it which in the long run can reduce the number of accidents.
3) J-O-B-S. It is no secret that unemployment is a huge problem the Unites States is facing right now. The creation of more jobs would just be an after effect of implementing a policy requiring all driver’s to retake the driving test every 8 years. There are over 211,000,000 licensed drivers in the United States. In order to allow for proper staffing to administer the written and practical portions of the driving test, you would have to hire more people. The number of people per DMV would be highly dependent upon the number of people it would serve, but with close to and often over 100 DMV locations per state, way over in more densely populated states, this could make a huge impact in the overall unemployment rate. There are 275 cities in the U.S. with a population over 100,000. Of those cities, 74 have a population of over 250,000 and 33 have a population over 500,000. Even if you base the numbers on needing 3 extra employees per DMV, you would be looking at 15,000 new jobs. As mentioned earlier, the exact number would differ from location to location, so the number of new jobs could be significantly higher.
Implementing a policy such as this has many benefits. Not only in reducing the number of auto accidents, accident related injuries and fatalities, but the creation of jobs as well. As far as paying these new employees, it would be as simple as increasing the price of renewal by a few dollars. While some people may balk at the idea of having to pay more money for their driver’s license or renewal, it could save you a lot more money in the future. For example, if you were to get into an accident that was your fault or someone else’s fault that does not carry insurance, it will cost you a lot more than a few dollars. An overall reduction in accidents would lower costs for insurance companies and possibly even lower the costs of medical and life insurance. The less risk car insurance, life insurance and medical insurance companies have to take insuring you, the lower the cost. Not to mention the adverse effects. More people employed equals more people being able to spend money and less people depending on the government to provide for them which results in a stronger economy which affects all of us in ways most of us do not fully understand. The mild inconvenience this would cause people in having to give a couple hours every 8 years is far out-weighed by the potential benefits. While it would take some serious support and work for a policy such as this to be implemented, it could have short and very long term positive effects for just about everyone.