What Are the Pros and Cons of Raising the Driving Age to 18?

Supporters argue that raising the driving age will cause a reduction in automobile accidents, while opponents argue that doing so will simply create older drivers who are just as inexperienced. Critics of an increased driving age call for a more developed driver?s education curriculum.

The most common argument in favor of raising the driving age is that teenagers are too immature, too reckless and too irresponsible to drive alone at the age of 16. Supporters of this theory argue that raising the driving age to 18 will create safer, more responsible drivers, leading to fewer auto injuries and fatalities. The National Highway Safety Administration reports that the rate of auto fatalities among 16-year-olds is nearly 10 times the rate for those age 30 to 59. Raising the driving age, many groups argue, gives teens more time to prepare and more time to grow up before getting behind the wheel.

Opponents, however, argue that training, not age, has the largest effect on the number of teen auto accidents. Raising the driving age to 18, these groups argue, will just create 18-year-olds who are still unprepared for the varied challenges of driving. In the Seattle Times, Kate Willette calls for a more advanced, rigorous driving education system that addresses the increasingly complex road system in the United States. Willette argues that better driver education programs, along with increased parental engagement, will help reduce teen auto accidents.