Here's Why The Driving Age Is 16 In Most States. Should It Be? - Cheddar Explains

motor vehicle crashes are the leading

cause of death for teenagers in the

United States 16 to 17 year old drivers

are almost twice as likely to die in a

car crash than drivers who are just two

years older so why is the minimum

driving age still 16 in 44 states it's

actually a highly contested subject in

1903 Massachusetts and Missouri became

the first States to require drivers to

obtain a license this was for two


first to generate revenue for the state

government and second to hold drivers

responsible for damages caused by their

vehicles as cars became more common so

did accidents

therefore states began to introduce

formal requirements for a license in

1909 Pennsylvania became the first state

to establish an absolute minimum driving

age eighteen twelve years later

Connecticut became the first state to

implement a driving age of 16 but still

16 year old drivers had to be

accompanied by a licensed adult this was

the nation's first attempt at executing

a graduated licensing system that would

grant young drivers more freedom over

time in 1925 New York followed in

Connecticut's footsteps and created the

learner's permit one year later a

National Conference for Street Highway

Safety drafted the Uniform Vehicle Code

which urged states to set the minimum

driving age to 16 this wasn't an actual

law but more of a suggestion and yet

most states followed it between 1919 and

1937 fifteen states enacted a minimum

age requirement nine of which allowed

driver's as young as 16 to obtain

licenses and by the 1940s this number

grew to include most states in the

country by 1996 all 50 states and the

District of Columbia adopted graduated

driver licensing policies even with

measures like these teen driving is

still dangerous drivers under Tony

account for 5.4 percent of all drivers

yet they also account for 8 percent of

all fatal crashes one of the more

popular arguments for raising the

minimum driving age

has to do with maturity this is jayegi

he let us study with the National

Institute of Mental Health that focused

on the evolution of children's brains as

they mature from adolescence to

adulthood the team analyzed 4,000 brain

scans from 2000 volunteers and

discovered this over time the brain

quickly turned blue in some areas and

more slowly in other areas the rate at

which the area's turn blue represents

their development over time and one of

the more significant areas to slowly

turn blue was right here the dorsal

lateral prefrontal cortex it's the part

of the prefrontal cortex that controls

impulsive behavior ways risks and makes

judgments the research suggests that

this crucial part of a teens brain grows

through adolescence and does not fully

mature until 25 this means that teens

decisions are often driven by ration

oceans and impulse rather than by logic

the slow maturing process coupled with

rapidly changing hormones can make a

potent mix as teenage bodies mature the

hormones encourage more novelty seeking

and risk-taking behaviors emotions start

to run high making it harder for them to

think long term inform wise judgments

speeding for example was the root cause

of over 19,000 teen crashes from 2000 to

2011 in 2016 alone teen drivers

accounted for 32% of all fatal speeding

related crashes studies have found that

speeding behavior increases over time as

teenagers gain more confidence in

driving another argument for raising the

driving age is that doing so could

significantly reduce the cost that

families have to pay for automotive

insurance the average 16 year old driver

in the u.s. is expected to spend over

2,500 dollars every year on insurance

adding a driver to an existing insurance

plan can bump up the price by an extra

$600 even 15 to 19 year-olds who

maintain a clean driving record are

expected to pay a higher insurance rate

because they are four times more likely

to be in a crash than older drivers with

more experience so people argue that

since these hefty

our highest for drivers 15 to 17 years

old raising the minimum driving age

would allow families to avoid spending

so much on insurance facts like these

are pretty hard to ignore

yet there are supportive reasons for

keeping the driving age at 16 first it

comes down to the maturity versus

experience dichotomy this argument comes

from the idea that skills can only be

attained through practice and experience

so raising the minimum age would only

delay teens from gaining crucial driving

experience in turn the argument

hypothesizes the teenaged crash rates

would only shift more toward 18 and 19

year olds supporters of maintaining the

driving age at 16 say that rather than

focusing on the drivers age policy

should concentrate primarily on offering

more hands-on classes and tighter

restrictions on novice drivers plus

raising the minimum driving age can

limit the options teenagers have to

participate in extracurricular

activities 57 percent of children ages 6

to 17 are part of an after-school

activity like sports clubs or part-time

jobs and all of these activities require

some form of transportation raising the

driving age would take away the chance

for these students to drive themselves

and instead places the responsibility on

parents who may not be readily available

this would also cause problems in areas

where public transportation is limited

so the ultimate goal of this debate

boils down to this to keep young drivers

safe both sides provide sound arguments

which can make it difficult to establish

a single minimum driving age across all

50 states but state governments have

created programs like graduated driver

licensing to help young novice drivers

gain crucial experience on the road most

graduated driver licensing programs or

GDL consist of three stages that slowly

face beginners into full unsupervised

driving privileges the Centers for

Disease Control and Prevention released

a study in 2006 that found that GDL

programs can reduce fatal crashes for 16

year old drivers by an average of 11%

New Jersey has long been used as a model

for implementing strong GDL policy

the state established 17 as the minimum

driving age and requires new drivers of

all ages to follow its GDL policies

after the GDL program was implemented

the state saw a 25% decrease in fatal

crashes of seventeen-year-old and

nighttime crashes of 17 year olds also

decreased by 40%

so while teenagers across the country

look forward to the day they get to

receive this small 60 by 92 millimeter

laminated card at the DMV that date

could come even later put all in the

name of safety do you think the minimum

driving age to stay is 16 leave a

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