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This topic has 0 member replies
ajwith Newbie | Next Rank: 10 Posts
Joined
16 Mar 2017
Posted:
2 messages

Fri Apr 28, 2017 9:14 am
The following appeared as part of a letter to the editor of a local newspaper:

“It makes no sense that in most places 15-year-olds are not eligible for their driver’s license while people who are far older can retain all of their driving privileges by simply renewing their license. If older drivers can get these renewals, often without having to pass another driving test, then 15-year-olds should be eligible to get a license. Fifteen-year olds typically have much better eyesight, especially at night; much better hand-eye coordination; and much quicker reflexes. They are also less likely to feel confused by unexpected developments or disoriented in unfamiliar surroundings, and they recover from injuries more quickly.”

In this letter, the writer has compared 15 year olds to some people who are far older than them with respect to driver's license privileges and driving abilities. However, this comparison has been done in a vague format and is not supported by strong facts or research.

First of all, the writer is comparing 15 year olds with some people who are far older than them, it is not clear if these people are between the age of 20-40 years or 40-60 years or 60 above. Consequently, the comparison that 15 year olds should be allowed to drive doesn't make sense. Also, the writer argues that like the older people are allowed to retain their license by renewing it repeatedly, the 15 year olds should be allowed to have one. This argument has been made without considering the the people who are far older also had to wait and to test for their license. They are only able to renew their license after actually acquiring the license for the first time. They would have been driving for years after that, to reach the date of renewal of their license and may have valuable driving experience by this time. Hence they might just have to renew their license. But a 15 year old who is applying for the first time may need to test his abilities to get a license for the first time.

Secondly, the writer compares the cognitive abilities of the 15 year olds to the people far older than them and contests that the 15 year olds would be better drivers. Becoming a better driver requires not only good cognitive abilities but many other things like knowledge of the traffic rules and experience being a driver. The writer claims that 15 year olds have better eyesight but does not mention in whose comparison? Also, he points out that they have better vision at night. How did the writer conclude this? Did he conduct vision tests at night? There is no mention of any kind of research. He also mentions better hand eye coordination and quicker reflexes, but doesn't show any real comparison.

Thirdly, the writer states that the 15 year olds are less likely to feel confused by unexpected developments. What kind of unexpected developments are these? What kind of unfamiliar surroundings is the writer trying to talk about? If the writer is writing about the 15year olds being able to recover quickly from injuries is he suggesting that even if they get into an accident, they will heal faster? If the writer is assuming that such an event might occur, then how can he claim that 15 year olds should be given a license? The writer is contradicting himself.

Since all the claims made by the writer lack any actual facts that might support it, and there is no real testing or research behind the conclusions about the abilities of the 15 year olds, it is difficult to say that the writer has a strong argument. In case there was more clarity in the text and the writer would not have contradicted himself in the end of the text, the argument could have been considered. However, the current argument is weak and lacks sense.

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