16:03 Gulf News: The driving age should not be lowered from 18 to 16.

16:05 Aasha Eapen: I agree. The number of accidents occurring every year is already so alarming. When a person is 18, he or she is more fit to be in a position to take up a driver’s licence.

16:06 Zibah Fairooz Bari: I’m against this statement because most students in UAE start college at the age of 16 and the senior most school students or the first year college students (aged 16) can take the responsibility for an opportunity like this. In Dubai, almost all families are small. They have two or three children and almost all parents work. So, if a critical or important event comes up, for example the mother is sick and the father is at work, the son or daughter can take his or her mother to hospital.

16:08 Huda Al Baqali: I am against the first statement due to the fact that at the age of 16 we all are prepared for responsibilities such as summer jobs. At this age, teenagers want to feel independent and helpful. Who will help if the parent is sick? Who will drive the children to school or get the groceries or even take the parents to the hospital?

16:14 Aasha Eapen: Living in the UAE, a number of easily accessible means of public transport are provided to us. In case of an emergency, one can avail of the nearest public means of transport. Also, if the driving age is lowered, the demand for cars would also increase, taking up parking space and increasing carbon emission.

16:14 Gulf News: Being older is no guarantee that you are a safe driver.

16:15 Aasha Eapen: I disagree. As one grows older, they gain more awareness of their surroundings and become more responsible. You also weigh the pros and cons in situations. Thus, it reduces the risk of more accidents taking place.

16:17 Huda Al Baqali: Yes, I agree with the statement because even if you are a race car driver, or a professional driving for twenty years, there is no guarantee that you will drive safe. Some older people read while driving, some make calls. Who get involved in illegal car races? It is the older drivers.

16:17 Don Joe Martin: Being older is no guarantee. But being older means that you are more mature, thus able to make better decisions that are well-timed.

16:20 Mashaal Effendi: I disagree with the statement, too. Being older is no guarantee that you are a safer driver, but it is definitely true that an older person is more mature. That speaks a lot about their driving behaviour in comparison.

16:20 Soumya Shukla: I don’t think it is worth risking the lives of others to let 16-year-olds drive.

16:24 Zibah Fairooz Bari: I agree that there is no guarantee that being older makes you a safe driver because it actually depends on the person who’s driving. Getting a driving licence is not difficult but being a safe driver is a bigger concern because in Dubai, a lot of accidents are occurring due to reckless driving. I think it depends on the driver because if the driver is careful, he or she will drive safely. If the driver is careful, then there should be no objection from anyone on giving them a licence at the age of 16.

16:25 Soumya Shukla: I don’t think they are old enough to understand the responsibility of driving a car. I don’t speak for all the 16-year-olds, but there are many irresponsible 16-year-olds and it is not worth risking all the other people’s lives.

16:26 Gulf News: Allowing 16-year-olds to drive will help them grow into more responsible adults.

16:27 Zibah Fairooz Bari: Yes, it will help them grow into more responsible adults because of social needs like family responsibilities. For example, if a younger sibling is at school and for some particular reason he or she is not able to take the bus home, the child’s brother or sister, who is 16 or older, can go to school and pick him or her up. In my experience, parents rarely allow their teenagers to go outside for a long drive with their friends. If they go outside, the teenagers are with family or relatives, and when they drive, they are extra careful and conscious, they would not drive roughly as most teenagers would do, if they were with their friends.

16:28 Huda Al Baqali: I agree, it will help prepare 16-year-olds for what is coming ahead in life and what the outcome of their actions can be.

16:28 Don Joe Martin: I disagree. This might not necessarily make them feel responsible. They might see the vehicle as a new toy gifted to them and they might just end up playing with it leading to more accidents.

16:30 Mashaal Effendi: I disagree with the statement. It will most certainly have an effect, but that is not a huge determinant in gauging someone’s maturity as a driver.

16:30 Aasha Eapen: People of this age are under pressure to fit in with their peer groups and may use this as a gimmick. If obtaining a licence is permitted, there is a probability that they may resort to rash driving just to attract attention.

16:33 Huda Al Baqali: Right now there are radars to track cars, if the teenager makes a mistake it will be recorded and their parents will be notified. It’s that simple.

16:35 Mashaal Effendi: Teenagers are in their last stages of immaturity, not in their initial stages of maturity. The only time they are not immature is when they have been brought up wisely.

16:39 Gulf News: It is better minors are sent to driving schools than them driving illegally.

16:40 Aasha Eapen: Given both the options, sending them to a driving school is definitely better than them driving illegally. Helping them practice under supervision will also help them to be better equipped when on the road.

16:40 Huda Al Baqali: I agree. It is better that they go to driving schools instead of learning from observing their parents or relatives. They might try to copy them and get injured in the process. It is better that they go to a driving school and practice.

16:42 Don Joe Martin: Yes, I agree. It is better if minors are sent to driving schools rather than being left to drive illegally and cause accidents. Moreover, in driving schools, they would also probably be made to realise the harm they could cause by driving recklessly.

16:43 Mashaal Effendi: I disagree. Minors should be educated about safe driving, but only taught when they are 18 years old. They can then be deemed mature enough to take care of themselves.

16:44 Zibah Fairooz Bari: Yes, they should be sent to driving schools because by the age of 16, they are able to drive and can handle the car, because of the technology used in cars these days.

16:45 Mashaal Effendi: Teenagers could, perhaps, apply at an early age and pass a test on which their civic sense would be evaluated. Exceptions could then be made for these selected individuals who are minors.

16:50 Huda Al Baqali: In conclusion, all I have to say is that letting 16-year-olds drive will help build a sense of responsibility, and show them the real world.

16:53 Mashaal Effendi: I believe that 18 years of age is fine. 16-year-olds should be allowed to drive. However, they should be given a short leash in their preliminary stages of driving. They probably should be put on probation for two months and then given the privilege to drive.