Driver minimum age requirements

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This policy provides a limitation of the minimum age that is allowed to drive. Teenage drivers have the highest crash risk per mile traveled, compared with drivers in other age groups. Young drivers tend to overestimate their driving abilities and underestimate the dangers on the road. The limitation of driver's minimum age is a core strategy to make it safer on the road at the same time increase the efficiency of automobile traffic.



Conceptual Example

It’s an unfortunate truth, but auto accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers. A 16 year old is almost twice as likely to die in a car crash than a 30 year old. And with new issues such as cell phone driving, texting while driving, and other forms of distracted driving, there is good reason to debate this issue. If we can take the most dangerous drivers off the road, we will not only save the lives of young adults, but we will also make the roadways safer for everyone else.[1]

Currently, a provisional licence-holder, no matter their age, has to be accompanied by a driver over 21 who has held a full licence for at least three years. More than 20% of deaths on Britain's roads in 2011 involved drivers aged 17-24 and about 10% of novice drivers are caught committing an offence within their probationary period. Young male drivers aged 17-20 are seven times more at risk of a road accident than the average male driver; between the hours of 2am and 5am that risk is 17 times higher, according to research from the Centre for Transport Studies. [2]

Specific Example

Different states have different policies on driver minimum age requirements, and here are some examples:

  1. Illinois: In recent years Illinois has enacted teen driving reforms, many of them after the Tribune's "Teens at the Wheel" series in 2006 examined ways that fatalities might be reduced. The state reforms included doubling the number of adult-supervised hours required behind the wheel to get a driver's license and tripling the length of time a new teen driver must possess a learner's permit. Some credit those changes for significant declines in teen driving deaths in the first seven months of this year.[3]
  2. North Dakota: The minimum driving age in North Dakota is 16. You may not drive in North Dakota if you are under 16, even if you are licensed in another state. However, a North Dakota resident can obtain a restricted license at the age of 15. A parent or legal guardian must sign for a minor under the age of 18 to be issued a permit or license.If you are at least 14 years of age and wish to be identified as a donor on your operator's license, permit, or identification card, you may do so by signing the donor identification block on the application form.[4]
  3. Arizona: Teens must be at least 15 years and 6 months old to get a graduated permit. And teen must have a licensed driver who is at least 21 years of age seated in the front seat next to him or her at all times.A teen with a Graduated Driver License shall not drive a motor vehicle containing more than one passenger under the age of 18 on a public highway. [5]



Tradeoffs of implementing this policy may include:

  1. The debate of equity.
  2. Teens under the minimum age get lower accessibility.
  3. Reduced employment of teenagers due to inability of driving.
  4. Reduced diversity of diving groups.
  5. Increase safety problems of teenagers biking and walking.


The following questions should be considered when determining how to implement this policy:

  1. Why driver minimum age requirements are important?
    1. Teenagers comprise a higher-risk group of distracted drivers for a number of reasons, not least of which being that they are typically much newer drivers in general.
    2. Aside from their inexperience, which in itself may lead to more anxiety and less focus on the road, teens are typically:
      1. More likely to speed while they're driving.
      2. Less likely to wear seat belts.
  2. What make teens as drivers dangerous?
    1. Texting & Driving: For teens specifically, these types of behind-the-wheel conversations seem to be especially prevalent (and dangerous). Several studies have found that teens are more likely to:
      1. Text while driving.
      2. Hold an ongoing, multi-text conversation while behind the wheel.
    2. Driving with Other Teens: Holding any type of conversation with someone else is a huge distraction from driving, and some tests show talking to someone inside the car can actually be more distracting for teens than texting. This may be due to the fact that teens are typically more susceptible to peer pressure. Many studies have shown that when teenagers are the passengers of other teenager drivers, the accident rate greatly increases.
  3. What roles parent/guardian are in this policy?
    1. For teens younger than 18, the application for an instruction permit or driver license must be signed by at least one adult (see below). The adult will be responsible for any negligence or willful misconduct when the teen is driving.
    2. The application must be signed by
      1. one natural parent if married to the other natural parent.
      2. both natural parents if not married to each other but share joint custody.
      3. one natural parent with sole custody.
    3. If neither parent is living, the application must be signed by
      1. a legal guardian (proof required).
      2. a foster parent living with the minor (proof required).
      3. an employer of the minor (death certificates must be shown).
  4. Which government agencies should be involved in implementation, monitoring, and enforcement?
    1. In the U.S., every state's DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles sets the limitation of driver's age and license & permit.)
  5. What are the laws teens may follow for responsibility?
    1. Require teens to follow the laws of your state for permit, graduated driving and other licensing requirements. Each state will be different and your teen should follow all of the laws that apply to them without fail.
    2. This may include:
      1. Logging all practice hours required before taking their driver's road test.
      2. Driving only to and from school or an after school job.
      3. Restrictions for driving past a certain time at night or with unlicensed passengers in the car.














  1. Should we Raise the Legal Driving Age?. 2015. Should we Raise the Legal Driving Age? DRIVE-SAFELY.NET.
  2. Driving age increase to 18 and curfew for new drivers mooted. Roxanne Escobales ,2013. Driving age increase to 18 and curfew for new drivers mooted. The Guardian.
  3. Illinois Illinois
  4. Drivers License Requirements Drivers License Requirements, North Dakota
  5. Permit and License Requirements Permit and License Requirements, Arizona
  6. Teen resources to get a licence Teen resources to get a licence,
  7. Resources for young drivers and parents Resources for young drivers and parents, New York
  8. Permit and License Requirements Permit and License Requirements, Arizona
  9. Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in California Applying for a New License (Teen Drivers) in California, California
  10. Driver License Eligibility Requirements Driver License Eligibility Requirements, Virginia
  11. Driving Age by State Driving Age by State,
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 Should 16-year-olds drive?. ATed Gregory, 2008. Should 16-year-olds drive? Chicago Tribune.
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