Being allowed to drive is one of the first stepping stones for a teen toward adulthood. It happens before other milestones like being able to vote at 18 or drink at 21, and teens are thrilled to finally have the freedom that a license allows.
That said, would it be wise to move the age up from 16 to 18? Many other countries use 18 as their limit, but the United States clings to 16. According to many agencies, like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), and the Department of Transportation (DOT), statistics show that young teen drivers pose a serious risk.
For instance, did you know that drivers who are 19 years old and younger have greater accident odds than other age groups? Young, inexperienced drivers crash at an extremely high rate. And it’s the worst for very young drivers. For instance, those who are 16 and 17 years old have almost double the accident odds as those who are 18 and 19. So, while all teens crash more than adults, very young teens pose the highest risk of all.
Other factors do play into it, so it’s not just age. For instance, if there are passengers in the car, the accident odds go up. Female teens are safer than male teens, as young men are twice as likely to be in deadly accidents.
Of course, inexperience also matters. Increasing the age may not make a difference because 18-year-old drivers would then be inexperienced, whereas an 18-year-old under the current laws has been driving for two years.
The statistics being what they are, it’s important for everyone to know the risks. If an inexperienced teen causes a crash and you are injured, you may need to seek compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more.
Source: IVN, “Should We Raise the Legal Driving Age?,” Shae Holland, accessed Dec. 22, 2017