So, why do students get so many tickets?

From Issue 10


Photo courtesy Mason Nichols

That’s the ticket…but why do students get so many of them?

As sixteen-year-old Prep students hit the pavement with their newly acquired driver’s licenses, they quickly begin to learn the rules of the road. Though many have taken part in driver’s education classes, many lessons have to be learned through experience. Unfortunately, this often entails traffic violations, parking tickets, or even accidents for many teenage drivers. Whether it be the result of modern distractions or simply a byproduct of their inexperience, teenage motor skills have grown worse in recent years. However, many teens claim that law enforcement has molded their negative image by targeting adolescent motorists.

First off, teens are more susceptible to accidents because of distractions from their phones. According to a survey from Common Sense Media, the average teen spends nine hours a day connected to some form of technology. With screen time taking up almost two-thirds of their waking hours, young drivers are bound to be on their phones at some time while they are driving. Distracted teenage driving is a major contributor to wrecks, therefore teens will be more prominent targets for police.

According to many teenagers, negative stereotypes of teenagers are common in the general population, not just the police force. Yet, teens are pulled over at a much higher rate than adult drivers. But is law enforcement the main contributor to this statistic? 

Prep’s Director of School Safety, Captain David Gammill, served for 25 years in the Flowood police department. When questioned on increased teen traffic violations, Gammill explained, “When I was on patrol I was mostly responsible for protecting buildings, not pulling people over for traffic violations. But teenagers are stopped because they are inexperienced drivers, not because an officer simply wants to pull them over.” As police aim to limit aggressive driving in young motorists, teens will continue to be pulled over much more than experienced drivers.

Recently, the Flowood police caught several Prep students for improper U-turns on their way into school. One of them, eleventh grader Thomas Swayze, shared his experience. He said, “I was mad at first because no one likes to be pulled over. The police were watching for U-turns because someone had, most likely, told them it was a problem. So, in reality, the police were just doing their job.”

It seems that few people see an unfair pattern behind the increased monitoring of teenage drivers. In fact, many believe that teenagers should draw increased attention from the police simply because of their lack of driving experience. As a young driver, you can never be too careful.