Licensed to wait

Junior+Trent+Jewett+doesn%27t+have+his+license%2C+so+he+listens+to+music+to+pass+time+while+waiting+to+get+picked+up+from+school.+

photo by Hannah Hadelman

Junior Trent Jewett doesn't have his license, so he listens to music to pass time while waiting to get picked up from school.

Hannah Hadelman, Staff Reporter

It was midnight after the Freedom football game, and senior Javier Pagan was tired of waiting after three hours stranded on the curb in front of the Sam Momary Stadium. It was then that he realized waiting to get a license was not a good plan.

In Florida, the required age to get a permit is 15, and to get a license drivers are required to be 16. Juniors and seniors are old enough, yet not all upperclassmen wait to drive.

Generally, when students are freshmen, they get their permit. But that wasn’t the case for senior Isabella Guevara, whose parents want her to wait until she is 18.

“My brother waited for a really long time until he got his, and my parents want me to do the same and just get my license when I turn 18,” Guevara said.

Some students don’t get a license out of fear. Senior Kaley Hofer is terrified of driving and she refuses to drive.

“I am afraid to drive a car, I have driven a car before but I got out because I was afraid to turn the wheel,” Hofer said.

Pagan has his permit, and could get his license, but his parents want him to learn how to drive a certain way.

“I could get my license right now but my parents want me to learn stick, and I hate driving stick because it’s dangerous and scary,” Pagan said.

Insurance is expensive for young drivers, which is another reason why some students have yet to get their license. The average insurance rate in Florida is $153 a month, and it is more expensive when you add minor drivers to an insurance plan.

“I’ve been waiting to get my license for about a year now because I could not afford insurance at the time, but now my family can so I am planning on getting it soon,” senior Patrick Hicks said.

The amount of time students waits to get their license varies. Some get their license right on their birthday, some wait a couple months, and some end up waiting over a year to get it just because it was not a priority.

 

For Hofer, not having her license does not affect her because she has friends that give her rides to the places she needs to go, such as school, practices, etc.  The alternative for most students who cannot drive is to get rides from friends or from family.

“It is harder to go to work and other places because I can’t drive myself, but my friend has the same schedule as me so he always gives me rides,” Hicks said.

Not being able to drive does not always have a negative effect, but for most it causes frustration.

“Not having my license affects me because it is really annoying when I want to go somewhere and I have to wait on my mom or brother to take me someone to give me a ride,” Guevara said. “Sometimes if my mom has not left the house to come get me I have to wait when everyone else has already left or is leaving and I am just waiting there alone and it’s just sad.”

The rate of teens getting their license at a young age is declining and waiting to get a license is starting to be a popular thing to do. In 2014, only 24.5 percent of 16-year-olds had their license This is a 47 percent decrease from 1983, when 46.2 percent did. Some students strongly disagree with waiting, though.

“I don’t understand how people wait to get their license, I got mine right after I turned 16,” junior Chase Garick said. “I couldn’t stand not being able to drive myself places.”

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