Why is it so easy to obtain a driver’s license in the U.S?

The ease with which individuals are obtaining their driver’s license in many states within the U.S is alarming. Driver’s license is an important document which should be handled with a lot of sensitivity. Maybe am only being paranoid especially if the argument is that many of the driver’s license applicants are studying their driver’s manual books smartly, and passing the required test for them to be issued with the license. But what if it is not paranoia and the reality is that the ease of access to the driver’s license in the United States should be a call for caution? The institutions involved in the issuing of the license such as the state Department of Motor Vehicles, (DMV) in individual states, can also defend it by claiming to be performing to its potential hence increasing the easiness of obtaining the driver’s license (Berardelli 45). The opposite can also stand as a reason as to why people are obtaining the licenses easily; the authorized institutions may not be performing to their level best and thus, open niches in which acquisition of this important document becomes very easy and at times, illegal. The validity of these two statements is open to debate. My focus, however, is to find out why the acquisition of this critical document is very easy in many states within the U.S.

Due to the concept of federalism, driver’s license in the United States is issued by the territories or the state government other than the federal government which is the central government. Aspiring drivers obtain their driver’s license from their state of residence upon attaining the required age. My perception is that the devolution of government and their functions has cut down the technicalities and formalities involved in obtaining the license hence making it easy for drivers to access their licenses.

It is not surprising to find teenagers in the U.S driving to school or to jobs which are most of the time, part time jobs after or before school. Do these teenagers drive off with their parents’ vehicle without the parent consent or do they own a driver’s license? Although the first case cannot be completely ruled off, the fact is that many states give room for teenagers to be in possession of their own driver’s license (Lostocco 54). The easiness of acquiring the license is again depicted in this statement. This power is however accompanied by various regulations and rules that vary from state to state. The regulations and rules stipulate that the young driver starts with a driver’s permit that allows them to drive under the supervision of an adult who must be a licensed driver, preferably, the parent. The point that was ignored in setting up such regulation is that the said adult, who is supervising the young driver, as much as he or she may be a licensed driver, may not be responsible enough to take care of the young driver in case something goes amiss in the driving process.

The set restrictions for accessing a driver’s license are not that tight hence acquisition of the document become less prohibiting, therefore, easy to access. If the set rules and regulations were followed to the latter then crashes for youngsters as a result of poor driving would decrease significantly in the U.S. Many teenagers who are not being monitored invite their young friends for a ride with only a permit which goes against the set rules. This explains the numerous cases of road accidents in the states due to careless driving by the young drivers. According to me, all the states in the region should follow New Jersey’s example by applying the same restrictions not only to teenage drivers but also to adult drivers who have just received their driver’s license and hence, are inexperienced in the driving skill. This will ensure that the easiness of obtaining the driver’s license is maintained in the states but under strict regulations for the safety of all.

Despite the limitations that are associated with some of the rules and regulations that govern the teenage drivers in many states, the fact that the institutions authorized in issuing the driver’s license put the safety of the young ones in consideration. This makes it attractive to many teenagers and parents encourage their teenage children in obtaining the license. This eases the functions of the various Departments of Motor Vehicles in issuing the licenses as many teenagers pass their permit tests and subsequent driver’s test.

In Texas, one of the states in the U.S, obtaining a driver’s license is the easiest thing second to obtaining a gun. As contradicting and dangerous as this may sound, it was a research finding! But the defense is that Texas is a ‘cowboy’ state, and hence, such a phenomenon is expected. My point here is in the ranking, driver’s license come second in acquisition in this state, showing how easy obtaining this vital document is. This can be attributed to the fact that Texas majorly constitutes regions of the countryside where transportation is a necessity for mobility (Castile 73). Hardship license for minors are common in this state which is driver’s licenses issued to teenagers between the ages of 14 and 16. Such teenagers may be subjected to serious hardship conditions such as financial and medical problems in the family hence the need for driver’s license to drive to and from home and school. To cater for such cases, the state has an obligation of easing the process of access to driver’s licenses.

Accessibility to this vital document has not only been felt amongst the U.S citizens but has also spread to the immigrants within the states. The easiness of accessibility to the license by the immigrants has been caused by the endless protests by immigrant advocates who claim that immigrants are people too, who deserve a comfortable and healthy life just like the rest of the U.S citizens (O’Leary 89). California is among the ten states that have open doors to immigrants, including illegal ones to apply for driver’s license. Is this really prudent? How will the identity of these foreign applicants be verified? What of the security risks involved in the overall process? These are the questions that ring into my mind whenever I think of easiness of obtaining a driver’s license in the country as far as the immigrants are concerned.

The causes for easy acquisition of the driver’s license in the U.S are clearly institutional forces and social forces that are at times unavoidable. As much as this phenomenon has its merits, the demerits also exist and state officials should critically look at both sides of the coin.

 

 

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