Skip Nav
10 Easy Ways to Get the Spark Back in Your Marriage
37 Halloween Costumes For Couples Who Want to Scare the Sh*t Out of People
6 Things It's OK to Reveal on a First Date

The Key to Safe Roads? Should the Driving Age Be Raised?

First the drinking age gets a hard look, and now this? An influential auto safety group is calling for states to raise the legal driving age to 18. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety president says the move would be for everyone's own good — car crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. He's presenting the plan at the Governors Highway Safety Association conference today — if states adopt the measure, the ol' 16th birthday might not be as sweet anymore.

Not surprisingly, kids and lots of parents want brakes put on the idea — the loss of freedom for both parties is huge. One mom says, "Do we really want our kids dependent upon parents for virtually everything until they go to college, can vote and serve their country?"

Here are the numbers: more than 5,000 teens die in crashes every year. Those crashes, per mile driven by a 16-year-old is almost 10 times the rate for drivers their parent's ages. Should the US follow Europe (and New Jersey) on this one? Most other industrialized countries in have a driving age of 17 or 18. Is safety (and potentially saving gas or fewer drivers on the road) worth delaying that big key hand-off another year or two?


bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 9 years
karenpanna ummm I'm not sure what state you live in but you don't even have to have a BAC of .08 ( the legal limit) in CA to get taken to jail for a DUI. DUI = driving under the influence and if you are considered intoxicated or under the influence and you blew a .04 you can still get taken to jail. .08 is a number that was agreeded upon and because people are diffrent weights, sizes, and tolerance levels vary law enforment reserves the right to take you with any BAC.
sarah-l sarah-l 9 years
These kids I mention above were in high school, some barely tall enough to reach the gas pedals on their trucks and from a maturity standpoint, I may have not even trusted them with a bike let alone a car.It is a very nice blog with lot of information. _________________________________________________________________ sarah California DUI
emmebeth emmebeth 9 years
I hope that more states adopt a similar Graduated License program like North Carolina's. There are so many accidents caused by inexperienced drivers (no matter what their age). This program almost guarantees that a new driver will gain the supervised experience that they need.
FitZucchero FitZucchero 9 years
PS. As a side note. These kids I mention above were in high school, some barely tall enough to reach the gas pedals on their trucks and from a maturity standpoint, I may have not even trusted them with a bike let alone a car. More reason, why I would have felt better about life had they NOT been driving yet.
FitZucchero FitZucchero 9 years
I think this is a fantastic idea and one that I hope will actually see the light of day. For all of the reasons listed above (safety, consistency with other "adult" standards we set like going to war, etc) and more. Someone above mentioned that this would hopefully put pressure on the public transportation system to meet the needs of the people and I agree. This would be a fantastic catalyst for this as well as environmental issues. This country needs FEWER drivers on the road, plain and simple. People need to stop relying on their cars and start using public transportation systems. A few years back, I was "moonlighting" as a tour guide in New York for a group of three student groups, 2 from Texas 1 from Alaska (talk about domestic culture shock). In talking with a small group of kids from Texas they were FLOORED that not only had I never driven a pick-up truck--hand to the heavens this was the conversation we were having--but also had never owned a car. Three years later, I still can make this claim. I've owned a Vespa, but that's about it. Now living in Europe, this is obviously much easier, but I do think there should be push back. 16 is really much too young. On a separate note, karenpanna, you make a good point. I spend a lot of time in Brazil where driving is a HUGE issue and drunk driving was becoming increasingly problematic. They now have a no tolerance policy meaning that they could do random spot checks and ANY trace of alcohol gets your license revoked. I originally cringed at the thought (after all, you CAN have a glass of wine without being loaded), but apparently this has decreased drunk driving significantly since being implemented. Interesting idea.
karenpanna karenpanna 9 years
I would take it a step further and decrease the acceptable Blood Alcohol Level of a driver. In Japan, driving under the influence is against the law. Meaning if caught, go directly to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200 (with jail time and revocation of driving privileges). DUIs are virtually unheard of in this country. I think an effort should be made to encourage designated driver programs. Taxi companies here take it a step further, if one does drink, they can hire a service with two drivers: one to drive you home, and the other to drive you car safely to your destination. I don't think the youth are the only ones to blame here, party animals of all ages do have a hand in traffic related accidents, and a responsibility as licensed drivers to drive safely.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
well personally coming from NJ when the driving age is one of the oldest - i have to say that i respect the thought to make it older rather than younger. i had lived in Florida for a while and well...the age there is SOO young that i didn't always feel safe since there were 15 year olds driving around. i guess it makes sense for some people but i don't think that it's necessarily the most responsible thing. i can understand that in some cases it makes sense to have younger drivers so kids can work and make their own spending money - but i don't think that it's reason enough.
Michelann Michelann 9 years
I think this isn't a terrible idea. It will certainly reduce the amount of trouble that teenagers can get into. However, I don't think that all teenagers are terrible drivers. I actually think the worst are elderly people who just don't realize or care that they no longer have the same capacity they used to. I agree with other people who have said that driving needs to be taken much more seriously, and that licenses should not be handed out so easily no matter what your age.
k-squared k-squared 9 years
Most people I know are getting their licenses at 17 or 18 anyway because either the wait for the driving portion of driver's ed is too long or that they wait until 18 to get their license and drive off to skip the permit. I already have my permit and will be able to get my license next April, so watch out people. But by that time I'll be halfway into the year to 17.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 9 years
I don't think it's a terrible idea, I wasn't allowed to drive until I was 17, and the worst part about it was just being the last of my friends allowed to drive. The thing is, do teens get into more crashes because they are young, or because they lack experience? I would imagine the first couple years of driving in general, drivers are more accident-prone, so I wonder if it really is a matter of their age, or their skills. I like the idea of really strict provisional driving, since it can give new drivers experience. The weird thing is, I'm 23, and I absolutely don't remember how young 16 is! But several people on here have commented that 18 is much older than 16, so I"ll believe them! I'm sure looking at it more objectively when you are a parent helps you actually see the differences. :)
audreystar audreystar 9 years
Even if this is not enacted this will be enacted in my house with my sons. I will allow them to get their learner's permit and drive with us but they will not be allowed to get their drivers license until they graduate high school.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
I would prefer relying on society as well to pick up the slack of responsibility here but as with many subjects society is simply not moved to do so. In fact society has relaxed its discipline in many regards only to suffer the consequences and proving that due diligence is becoming too much to ask. I think the best test lab will be to have one state do it first and then see what the results are later.
meumitsuki meumitsuki 9 years
I think that getting your license should be harder. In England the tests are intense and involve a ton of time with an instructor. We had to demonstrate real parallel parking on the street, how to avoid bikers, and navigating multilane round-a-bouts. When I got my license in PA, you could take your permit test and go back the next day to get your license.
Oregon-chick Oregon-chick 9 years
I am opposed to this idea, but not necessarily oppposed to provisional driving. I grew up about 10 miles outside of my town and there is no way I would have been able to have a job or participate in athletic programs at 16 if I didn't have my license. Having a job at that age taught me a lot of responsibilities and allowed me to pay for all my car expenses myself. Additionally, my older brother was a huge benefit to my parents when I was young and he was able to bring all of us kids home after our afternoon activities instead of making my parents make an extra trip into town.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I think the problem with an "age" is that once someone gets to that age, they will think it's a "partay". IMO, I don't see the need to establish an "age" that is older or younger, but definitely see the need to teach the kids the responsibility of driving a car. I think they also need to see the consequences of multitaksing in a car, like the guy who tried to use his phone, and let his GEO Metro cross the center line and mate with a semi. It wasn't pretty.
Mykie7 Mykie7 9 years
As the parent of a 17 year old boy, I think this is an outstanding idea. If a child isn't old enough to decide not to SMOKE at 16, what makes us think they have enough judgement not to be stupid behind the wheel at 16? I just think this makes complete sense. Kids at 16 do things without thinking. It doesn't mean they're bad kids, it just means they're KIDS. Permits at 16 are a good idea I think, and give them those 2 years to drive with a parent or legal guardian ONLY. This will build up confidence behind the wheel and give them some experience, but not turn them loose on society. I'm all for it, though my son will probably hate me for it. LOL
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
There are a few reasons to raise the drinking age to 18. Safety is number one and then the peripheral benefits are fuel conservation, less wear & tear on the highways, all the money that would have been spent on 24 months of insurance can now be redirected into the economy, and less traffic congestion. Another reason is the fools I droven around with in H.S. If it was up to me they wouldn't have a licsense until they were 21. Although I could have driven at 16 my father waited till I was 18 to give me my first driving lesson. I remember sitting behind the wheel of my mother’s old blue thunderbird sinking back into the white leather feeling the power of that V8 under the hood. My father drove to the empty parking lot behind the local Sears and turned me loose. A month later I got my 1969 Cadillac El Dorado 20.5ft. long and believe it or not I could parallel park that thing like a little red wagon.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
I agree with this completely. I would also suggest longer, more extensive drivers' ed courses and more stringent driving and written tests.
stephley stephley 9 years
As a mom, I'm fine with this idea - I understand all Deidre's concerns, and it would take some adjusting to get around them, but I feel that there are better ways to teach kids responsibility than handing them car keys.
girlgreen girlgreen 9 years
i agree that the age would be raised, but i'm wondering if it would make it harder for teens to learn if they are already in college by the time they get their license. i think when i learned, i got my permit at 15 and started driving at 16. maybe they should raise permit to 17 and driving to 18, or is that what they're suggesting?
Deidre Deidre 9 years
I think this is completely problematic. With all of the working parents and cities with lack of public transit, I can't imagine what kind of hassle this would place on so many families. Lots of high schoolers carpool to school, or drop their younger siblings off on their way. Also, we can't expect teenagers to grow into adults if we don't give them any responsibilities -- and it's borderline ridiculous to hold off the right to drive to conincide with the age they enter college. I'm much more in support of a no texting while driving rule, or a driving curfew (i.e. no driving between certain hours) for young drivers.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
*funny story about elderly drivers, My 95 year old great grandmother Olga (she had the cutest swedish accent) used to steal the keys to her sons car and deliberatly get pulled over because she had a crush on the local cop (she lived in a one stop sign town in the middle of nowhere) he would bring her home and she would be all giggly and invite him for coffee, i am sure it was annoying but he adored her. when she died he came to her funeral and just cried!
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 9 years
I also agree with the provisions on a licenses for drivers under 18 like in California too and that increasing/changing the provisions for all drivers not just young ones is the answer. All drivers should have to take a written maybe once every 5 years, along with getting their vision retested, and be required to report medical conditions that may impair their ability to drive.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 9 years
The only problem I have with this is that many groups protest and say it ageist to question the driving ability of the elderly, but "we" freely do it when it comes to youth. I know a lot of young drivers that I trust on the road way before an elderly one. Maybe there should be an additional test that teens have to take that assess there maturity level and not a year added to the time you can get a license,because that is what is in question not the hand/eye coordination which tends to be better at that age. Seriously I don't think 1 year is going to add that much maturity to a teen driver.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
where do I Effing sign something to say "Hells yes!" to this? No 16 or 17 year old should be behind a wheel alone, or if with someone not thier 16-17 year old BFF. Just this morning, I almost got Offed by some brat in a gigantic Escalade who was on her freaking phone pulling into the turn lane without looking to get into her High school parking lot. at the stop light, i noticed when she got out, she was still on phone, with a starbucks cup. Not that the 18 and older crew doesnt do this, but the 16 year olds are more likely to think its a "partay in my car"
Car Hacks
What Is the Self Drive Act?
How Do I Stop My Windows From Fogging Up?
Find Out Why the Chevy Bolt Was Named Car of the Year
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds