At what age does the human brain mature?

Under most laws, young people are recognized as adults at the age of 18. However, emerging science about human brain development informs that most people do not reach full maturity until the age of 25.  During their first two decades of life, humans are readily influenced and highly impressionable.

Fairness in assessing the growth and development of interests among young American men has held many among them attentive to and fixated on automobiles. Nowadays, this opinion writer would argue, there are often as many young American women also quite interested in automobiles.  The use of the automobile by many young men and women is to attract persons of the opposite sex.

Aside from human nature and the birds and bees, one of the ways America’s young people are effective at shortening their lives is by using the automobile in ways as to test the limits of physics and related control of powerful machines. I was taught to drive by my father who offered many admonishments from my beginner stage to solo use of the family car. It was then my turn with my daughters. I never had an accident but that outcome was a case of pure luck and, while my daughters returned home —once each—with minor damage to family cars, but no loss of life, it’s a hunch good luck also smiled their way.

So, let’s get right down to brass tacks regarding kids and cars. The reader may be transfixed on the idea that their little darling is gentleman-or lady-like behind the wheel of any auto he or she drives, family car or kid-owned. However, almost every friend of mine back in time was just a bit, mind you, inclined to show off or test limits with near misses or actual fender benders as outcomes.  The worst instance from my teenage years was the death of a best friend who was not driving but riding in a car going too fast to negotiate a corner. That accident resulted in a head-on crash that cost him his life, as well as two other teens and the mother in the other car.

Nowadays, factor-in modern day television advertising.Recently, there was one during the Super Bowl by Chrysler-Fiat applauding the ability of their Jeep Wrangler to ford a stream at high speed, tearing up the creek bed, with possible roll over into water deep enough to drown anyone knocked unconscious by the impact. Bad form for a commercial millions of young Americans watched during the Super Bowl. Meanwhile, the same company, Chrysler-Fiat, offers a TV ad where a caravan of six Challenger and six Charger cars drive at top speed on a twisty, narrow, curvy mountain highway with steep cliffs on both sides.  Are they nuts?

Not wishing to unduly criticize one car company, there are more examples of this sort of throwing caution to roadside winds among several current TV commercials for new cars exampled by Honda, Land Rover and several others. In fact, it’s unlikely the average TV viewer will get through an evening’s viewing without seeing one or more of them.  And, of course, no one needs a graduate degree in psychology to conclude that the younger set are seeing these ads and being influenced  to try the same feats of death and life-long injury caused by them.

Again, the human brain commonly does not fully mature until our species is in his and her mid-twenties.  Regarding car advertising: why don’t the car manufactures devote their profits to making commercials that don’t encourage speeding and irresponsible behaviors.  Rather, how about using as a template from the latest Alfa Romeo ad where two cars spin their wheels on an ice rink and turn thereby to display their attractive lines.  Safety features on modern cars are also nothing to sneeze at.

Most of our allies do much better than we do at establishing and maintaining community-like living conditions. Instead of looking so often to how much money can be made by selling products, it would do the American population better to consider how well we can serve each other, especially, in the matter under consideration here, the children and youth of our fellow American citizens.

Shared responsibility for the welfare of every American would likely decrease the violence in the U.S.  It would predictably also advertise products and services that show and vouchsafe their value and importance for transportation when used sanely and without harm not only for he who drives but as well for he who happens, in the instance of automobiles, is out there too and can be harmed by recklessness and negligence. Bottom line: If every American communicated his concern over advertising messages, change would come as it always has when more and more of us speak up on behalf of reforms. During our history,  Americans have accomplish great things.Why not this?

(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)