During the Governors' Highway Safety Association meeting in September, Anne Fleming and other Institute personnel presented a report that indicates that raising the driving age lowers both the crash rate and death rate among teenagers.
Currently, most states license drivers at age 16, although South Dakota allows 14-year-olds to drive. Six states and the District of Columbia have a legal age of 16.5, and only New Jersey's is 17 years old. Great Britain's age for driving is 17, although most European nations require drivers to be at least 18 years old.
"It's a hard sell to go against that double push of parents wanting to get out of the chauffeur business and teens wanting to drive," Ms. Fleming said, but she and others pointed to data from New Jersey that shows seventeen-year-olds have better driving records than sixteen-year-olds.
"Teen brains develop quickly between sixteen and eighteen, so older teens can better access risks," said Dr. Clea McNeely, executive director of Johns Hopkins Center for Adolescent Health. "It would definitely reduce morbidity, no doubt about it. However, it is really hard on families when kids can't drive."
The Institute's proposal comes at a time when more than 100 college presidents have asked governors to work toward lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18.
Posted By: Aspen Education Group