Face to Face: Should new drivers have provisional licenses?

Lucy Tantum

Face-to-Face is a feature that allows two members of the Redwood community to grill each other, argue, or simply converse about a relevant issue or event. We provide the topic, and they do the rest. This month’s participants are junior John Lupario and sophomore Sam Abrahams. The issue: Should new teenage drivers have provisional licenses?


Do you think that new drivers should have provisional licenses?


John Lupario: Yeah, I think we should because it seems to me that once kids get their license they aren’t very experienced drivers. Passing your license test doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a good driver because it doesn’t test you on everything that you need to know to be successful. I think that kids should at least get some extra experience before they can have a full license.

Sam Abrahams: I feel like [the provisional license] is good sometimes, but because it’s so long people don’t really obey it. I know maybe one person that has the provisional and doesn’t drive with other people. I think it should be a lot shorter—then, people would actually obey it. So I’m against it.



Everyone breaks the rules of the provisional license, so do you think it’s really effective?


JL: Around here in Marin, people drive their friends around all the time. It’s kind of one of those rules that cops might turn their heads against…so many people do it. That’s not to say that it’s right or wrong.

SA: Like I said, I know maybe one person that doesn’t drive other people and has their provisional. Everybody else I know drives a ton of people.


If there wasn’t a provisional license, would your driving habits change?


JL: I think that I’d probably drive people, but I don’t think I’d do it all the time. Once I knew that I was experienced enough to drive other people and I knew that I was a good driver, I think I would be more comfortable with it. But if I felt that, you know, I’m new to this, I’d stop.  You want to be safe, obviously, but you want to drive your friends at the same time.

SA: I’d definitely drive my friends a lot more, but more if we were going to go out to lunch or something. I wouldn’t drive them around, I’m not a taxi service, but I would definitely drive them a lot more.


Did you feel like you needed the provisional when you got your license?


JL: I think that it felt more comfortable [at first]. I’ve had my license for about eight months so I think I’m a good driver, but not necessarily when I first got my license. I didn’t drive a ton when I got my permit, so I needed to drive around for a couple of months on my provisional license.

SA: Definitely for the first week or two, I was kind of nervous driving. But I feel like after that I was pretty comfortable and I definitely feel comfortable now. I feel like [the provisional license] didn’t affect me that much.