Auto safety group: States should raise driving age

Auto safety group: States should raise driving age

By MARTHA IRVINE, AP National Writer Tue Sep 9, 6:37 AM ET

CHICAGO - Taking aim at a longstanding rite of passage for 16-year-olds, an influential auto safety group is calling on states to raise the age for getting a driver's license to 17 or even 18.

Adrian Lund, president of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a research group funded by the auto insurance industry, acknowledged the idea is "a tough sell," but noted that car crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers.


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Martha Irvine is an AP national writer. She can be reached at mirvine(at) or via


Is it me, or is this a totally counterproductive idea? Teens aren't bad drivers because they are teens. Teens are bad drivers because they are novice drivers. Raise the driving age and you'll just get a new class of novice drivers who are older. Why on earth would this be a good idea??


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Raise the driving age to 20.

RidingFool's picture

It's the only logical/statistical thing to do if it reduces the number of teenagers killed while driving. It will let the insurance companies keep more of your cash in their pocket, rather than paying it out in claims. Isn't that their real goal?

Quick Note

jazzdrive3's picture

I don't want to be the prude, but please don't post full articles, as they are copyrighted and we could get in trouble.  Not to mention penalties in Google for having duplicate content.

In the future, when posting articles, please just post the first paragraph of the article, or a paragraph that best sums up the article, with the link to the article as you have done.

I know this was done alot in the old forums, but with greater power comes greater responsibilites.  Or some other crap like that.

Thanks for your cooperation!


Xur's picture

Sorry jazz, will do. With the new linkificationability, I suppose we don't really need to post the article itself anymore!

BTW, if anyone is curious, the images I posted in another thread were CC (Creative Commons) licensed, and I linked back to the original image pages hosted on flickr per the flickr TOS, so there should be no issues there. If I post other images in the future, I'll do the same thing. There are lots of CC licensed images out there.

My guess is they're trying to avoid the never say die attitude..

TMundo's picture

...that many teenagers have when first getting behind the wheel of a car. Personally, I don't know how long it took me to get rid of that attitude, in fact, maybe I never did fully.

I don't know, maybe more time under a learner's permit would help.

I think the minimum age here is 19.

Mal_Content's picture

I've just come from a province where the minimum age to drive was 16, and I've never known a 16-year-old who was involved in a collision.


Kangagang's picture

Given the legal drinking age in the US, it seems odd that it's legal to operate a machine that can cause harm to others at age 16, but teens have to wait until 21 until they can harm themselves.

I have no problem with 16yo having driving licenses, but they should be restricted to 4 cylinder vehicles until at least 18yo.

4 cylinders? What difference does that make?

Xur's picture

You can still get enough horsepower out of 4 cylinders to kill people... besides, teen cars are often hand-me-downs. They'll drive whatever their parents' oldest car is...

As indicated in the article, most states have a graduated license nowadays. I believe the way it works (they didn't exist when I was a teenager) is that a teen gets a license but then for a few years can only drive with an adult in the car, or with fewer than 3 other teens, or something like that. I believe that statistics show it is effective in reducing teen auto accidents, but still allows teens the freedom that they need (and yes, in most of the US, a car is a necessity even for a teenager).

Outright prohibition doesn't work. I wish our governments would learn that...

Talk about taking the fun out of being a teenager.

RidingFool's picture

No wonder they're walking around with tattoos and empty pants hangin' around their ankles. Why, when this elderly gentleman was a young pup - it seems like only a few years ago since Phoenix - we used to drive and smoke and drink and generally whore around all through high skool.

In fact, back in grade eight - or maybe it was grade 7 - one of our classmates drove his teacher to skool in the morning. That didn't last long though. Miss T. was sent packing, and we never saw Réal Raoule any more either, come to think of it. I like to think they're off on some deserted island, he wearing Hawaiian shirts and she wandering around in parachute pants and a tube top.

Teenage life is so boring now. That's pretty much why I gave it up around a decade ago for adulthood.

Not so much here.

Kangagang's picture

Kids involved in car accidents are typically driving high powered, modified vehicles rather than second-hand 'old bombs'. Seems they like to work their butts off in McDonalds, pour their money into hotting up their "rides" and then go drag racing on suburban streets of a night.

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