This week's deadly crashes raise questions about driving age

Recent fatal accidents locally raise the question of whether teens are qualified to take the wheel.

Two deadly crashes this week kills seven people with young people behind the wheel.

10News is hearing from parents raising concerns on Facebook and debating: what age are kids ready to drive?

Five people were killed in a multi-vehicle crash on E. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in Tampa Wednesday night.

RELATED STORY: Speeding was factor in deadly MLK Jr. Blvd. crash that killed five

New Snapchat video, taken by a 19-year-old passenger shows the car going 115-miles-per-hour moments before the crash.

RELATED STORY: Snapchat video shows driver going 115 mph moments before fatal crash

It killed both the passenger and the 22-year-old driver. They hit a minivan killing a mother and two young kids, and seriously injuring a 15- and 18-year-old.

Then on the way to Frostproof High School Friday, an 18-year-old and his 15-year-old sister were killed when he crossed over the center line and hit an oncoming truck.

RELATED STORY: 2 Frostproof High students, brother and sister, killed in crash

Parents tell 10News it's the toughest, scariest decision to make: when is it the right time to hand the keys to your child?

“I just want to be doing what I'm supposed to be doing, trying to focus on cheer and school [and] balance those two out,” says 19-year-old Khadeejah Boyd.

Boyd’s been holding off on getting her driver license. The Tampa Bay Tech cheer captain feels she's finally ready, but what about her mom?

“It just terrifies me to death! I see all the accidents,” says mother Donna Jones.

For Boyd and Jones, the crash on MLK Boulevard this week hits close to home, hospitalizing one of her classmates.

“It could've been me, but you got to just keep praying,” says Boyd.

In the 10News conversation on Facebook, Krista Davidson says, “My daughter gets her license once a month from today. I worry about the reckless and distracted drivers all the time.”

Stephanie Stutz posts, “We made my son have his permit for two years and allowed him to get his license at 17. I think that extra year of having to drive with someone really helped him!”

Natalie Noblitt writes: “It's our job as parents to really drive home the fact that driving is a privilege, not a right.  Unless we change the driving age to 25 (which is unrealistic in our culture) we are going to continue to see young drivers being irresponsible.”

“I don't think some people are ready, it depends on maturity,” says 16-year-old Takiya Fullwood.

Fullwood couldn't wait to get behind the wheel, but knows the rules. “I felt like I was really ready. I make sure every time I get in the car, I put on my seatbelt. I'm a cautious driver,” says Fullwood.

For Patrick Walker's dad, David, he believes a parent should be a passenger until they believe their child is ready to drive on their own.  “I keep telling him let's go down and get your license, but he's like no I'm not ready. I'm like, that's fine with me, I think he likes me driving him around [and] being a chauffeur,” says David Walker.


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