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What happened last Saturday night in St. Petersburg is every parents’ worst nightmare. Another local teenager died in a tragic car accident. The driver had just obtained his learner’s permit and was behind the wheel of a car loaded with fellow teens and no adults. The details of the accident are still sketchy and vary among the witnesses. This much is clear: the Tampa Bay region has lost another young life in a senseless accident that could have been avoided. None of the occupants were wearing seat belts and the vehicle may have been speeding. According to statistics, teens between the ages of 15 and 19 are twice as likely to be involved in car accidents. In 2005, 452 teenage Floridians were involved in fatal car crashes.

Perhaps its time to take drastic steps to deal with this problem. Perhaps we should not allow 15 year olds to obtain learner’s permits. Driver education should be compulsory for every person applying for a driver’s license. One teenager lost in a car accident is one too many.

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