Why Should the Driving Age Be Lowered?

Though there is typically little support for lowering the driving age, proponents of the idea have suggested that allowing teenagers to drive earlier would give them more experience and confidence behind the wheel. The United States imposes graduated driver licensing laws to transition teens to driving independently.

In the majority of states, the minimum age for unsupervised driving is 16. In Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, New Mexico, and South Carolina, the minimum age is 15. South Dakota is the only state where unsupervised drivers can be as young as 14. In the majority of other countries, including most of Europe and Asia, the minimum driving age is 18. In 2014, French legislators proposed a bill to lower the driving age in France to 15. The bill was unsuccessful.

The specifications of graduated driver licensing laws vary by state and country. Usually, teenagers are required to possess a learner’s permit or restricted license for a particular length of time. Statistically, teenagers have a much higher risk of car crashes than any other age group. The U.S. states with the strictest licensing laws have seen a decrease in vehicular deaths among teenagers, which is why support for lowering the driving age is minimal.