Legal Driving Age

Well Argued Reasons for Raising the Legal Driving Age

In most places in the United States, 16 is the legal driving age. While many teenagers are anxious and eager for this age to finally happen, millions of adults throughout the country dread it and are arguing for a raised legal driving age.

This article presents several of the reasons and arguments for raising the driving age from 16 to 18 in higher populated areas of the country.

Population Increases

In past decades, having a lower age limit for driving wasn’t a big problem. Cities were not generally the large overpopulated metropolises that they are now. Phoenix, AZ for example houses approximately 3 million people and over 2/3 of the entire state’s population. That number is increasing all of the time, and the once mellow city is now a tangle of 75 mph zones and mix masters that see many fatal car accidents each year. This trend is mirrored in the majority of other cities around the country as well.

Los Angeles in particular has had hectic traffic for decades, but this has increased in leaps and bounds with the continuing population booms. While most parents find their teenagers to be fairly mature and level-headed, rush hour traffic on a 6 lane freeway can be too much to expect of a high school sophomore, and even some adults avoid those areas at all costs.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

A lot of teenagers, not all but a lot of them, like to drive with their friends and show off a bit. It’s typical human nature, and while this side of the argument does not want to pass judgment on the teenagers, they do want to protect them from their own hormones and mentality.

As it turns out, with baby booming trends in this era, teen drivers make up a fairly small amount of actual drivers that are out there on the streets. Despite this small number though, they represent a startlingly high rate of fatal car accidents. Several organizations are lobbying for the legal driving limit to be raised to reduce the devastating numbers. The UK alone attributes one third of its car accidents to male drivers under the age of 20.

One study that was conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration stated that had the age limit been raised, almost 8,000 teen lives would have been spared in driving accidents between 2002 and 2003.

Economic Reasons

Initially, one might think that holding off on issuing teens licenses would hurt our car companies. While they might have to wait an additional 3 years for this revenue, most 15 and 16 year olds don’t go out and purchase brand new cars. 18 year olds that have been in the job market, however, would be more likely to have saved up enough money to go purchase their first vehicle by the time they are of age.


In addition to this, many insurance claims could have been avoided from teen accidents if the age had been raised. Additionally, insurance rates could go down for the general population because the insurance companies would not need to pay out the almost 900,000 accident claims involving teenagers each year.

Environmental Reasons

The environment is a big topic nowadays, and everyone is eager to go green. One of the biggest problems our planet has is vehicle emissions. The amount of emissions and air pollution would drop dramatically if teenage drivers had to wait until their 18th year to get their licenses. Until they reached that age, they would rely on carpooling and public transportation, two items that many environmental researchers and activists are trying to promote to the general public.

This would also increase jobs for bus drivers and other public transportation officials, as well as increase overall health in the teens that chose to utilize bikes and skateboards instead of cars.