The Road Rarely Taken

Allison Leavey, Journalism Student

Turning sixteen has become a great milestone in many teenagers’ lives. They begin applying for jobs, planning the birthday party of their dreams, and, most importantly, begin the exciting quest to learn how to drive. Getting one’s license is a rite of passage in an adolescent’s eyes. And while some teens are anxious to hop into the driver’s seat, other teens seriously weigh the pros and cons before becoming a legal Connecticut driver.

Money is one of the main issues that families worry about, and at the same time, the biggest concept misunderstood by teens. What most students do not realize when they daydream about being handed the keys is the financial cost of acquiring, and maintaining a license. The gateway to having access to the open road begins with obtaining a learner’s permit. In the state of Connecticut, the cost of taking the learner’s permit test is 40 dollars with an additional 18 dollars for a photo ID should one pass the written exam.

On top of the cost of a permit, most students wish to take a driver’s education class. At the All-Star Driver driving school in Danbury, the entry level package, least expensive of Driver’s Ed courses in that school, is priced at $499.99, with a textbook for $20 more.

After preparation, a final road test costs another $40 dollars, And, if you pass, you are charged another $66 dollars to obtain the license.

However, even after a license is obtained, costs continue to add up. Parent Lynn Leavey explains that her Allstate insurance agent informed her that monthly costs of insurance will most likely increase about $150 dollars a month to add a teen driver.

Most new drivers have a sense of invincibility, combined with the fact that they like to drive fast. It is a fact that 16-17 year old drivers are more likely to have an accident, causing insurance rates to climb even higher. Once added up, it can be safe to say that after a year of having a license, a teen could spend $2484.99, not including the necessities like gas, a trip to a mechanic, or the cost of the actual car and its payments.

With all these expenses, many ask is it really worth the money just to be able to drive to CVS every once and a while?

Many students at Bethel High have put off obtaining their license. “Unless you have a car, getting your license really isn’t that special,” says Madhumita Das, a Junior at BHS. “I got my license in July, and I don’t really drive that much at all. The excitement fades fast.”

Haley Gill, another Junior adds, “I don’t see much need in getting my permit or license right now. It’s not that important to me and it doesn’t bother me to wait.”

Perhaps it might be wiser to take the less glorious, but more frugal route of waiting to turn eighteen before getting your license. Sure, you might not be the coolest of your friends, but your parents will certainly thank you.