Should Legal Driving Age be Increased to 21?

I wrote previously about whether driving age should be increased to 18

I mentioned 4 benefits of increasing the driving age to 18, from 17, which include:

1. Cut the number of deaths.

The highest death rate for drivers is amongst the age group 17-25. If the driving age is increased there would a be a fall in fatalities arising from motor car use. This has a significant economic benefit.

2. Cut Congestion.

Less drivers on the road will reduce congestion and therefore, reduce costs for firms

3. Reduce Obesity

Driving encourages the population to become lazy and obese. If people can’t drive they will be forced to walk, use public transport and cycle. This will help lead to a healthier population, which in turn leads to less strain on the NHS

4. Young Drivers overestimate their skill

Young drivers, especially male drivers, are likely to overestimate their ability to drive at speed and in difficult conditions. For people of school age, there is often great peer pressure to drive excessively and in a dangerous way.

However, to be fair you could make quite a good case against raising the driving age to 18 or 21.

  • Disadvantages of Raising Driving Age
  • Is public transport good enough to provide an alternative?
  • Reduce mobility of young people can have an economic cost, e.g. firms less able to have a flexible labour market.
  • Lower demand for cars and therefore lower output in the car industry. (However, jobs may be created on public transport)
  • Denial of Freedom. – Not really economic argument, but, a powerful political idea.

39 Responses to Should Legal Driving Age be Increased to 21?

  1. anna December 18, 2007 at 8:15 pm #

    the third “benefit” is absurd, if your raising the driving age to 21 to reduce obesity, then you should just raise it to an even higher age because not just teens are obese, thats a problem for every age in america

    -Blanca Parent and Anna Miller

  2. Richard Anderson December 23, 2007 at 2:59 am #

    “The highest death rate for drivers is amongst the age group 17-25. If the driving age is increased there would a be a fall in fatalities arising from motor car use. This has a significant economic benefit.”

    wont this just rise with the driving age.. i mean just because your raising the age doesnt mean there going to be perfect drivers and have better experience or over estimate there skill. Personally i dont think it will make any difference what so ever.

  3. Bailey April 15, 2008 at 6:15 pm #

    I think that your benifits are pretty good. It should reduce obesity. So many teenagers just drive instead of walking. They never take the time to exercise.

    Even though driving gives teens more independence and more responsibility, it can also be a bad thing. Teens who can drive are TOO independent at times. They need to tell their parents what they’re up to instead of going anywhere they want to all the time.

    Driving could equal drinking and drugs for some teens. So parents, think about that when you talk about getting your childrens’ driver’s license.

  4. Ben April 15, 2008 at 6:21 pm #

    “the third “benefit” is absurd, if your raising the driving age to 21 to reduce obesity, then you should just raise it to an even higher age because not just teens are obese, thats a problem for every age in america

    -Blanca Parent and Anna Miller”

    The 3rd benefit is not ‘absurd’. We are considering teens here, not everyone. Why not help prevent teens from getting over weight? Obviously we can’t raise the driving age to 40 or something because that is far too old. Driving does cause drivers to remain unactive while driving and offers them access to fast-food drive-throughs. You can’t deny that driving could cause obesity in teens and we can’t raise the driving age that high.

  5. Bailey April 15, 2008 at 10:03 pm #

    My Earlier Comment-

    The last sentence does not make sense, sorry about that, but it still gets the point across.

  6. Rick April 16, 2008 at 6:22 pm #

    I agree with Ben and Bailey. The amount of teenage obesities will increase if the driving age is lowered. Teens will become overweight if they overuse their ability to drive.

    Also, who is paying for the gas? Is it the parents or the teens? Since gas prices are so high, would a simple job cover the cost of gas and ensure a supple amount of money for college?

    1. I believe this point is a serious issue. Young drivers often overestimate their driving skills, causing accidents, thousands of dollars in repair, injuries, and even deaths. Teens will often race on the highways or country roads and cause crashes by missing stop signs. If the driving age is raised, this won’t occur and many lives will be saved.

  7. Tim April 16, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    All four points hit the nail right on the head. The most important point i think you hit though was that it would cut obesity. It would promote teens to walk or ride a bike which make our country a lot healthier. Another great point you made, (which I think everyone agrees on whether there hireing it or not) is that it would decrease the number of deaths. My mother and grand mother were hit by a girl who had just started driving. Its a great sight keep putting up information

  8. Bailey April 16, 2008 at 6:24 pm #

    Richard Anderson, this idea of raising the driving age could work. You have to admit, the older you are, the more experienced and wiser you are. I’m not saying all, but most teens are irresponsible and inexpierienced, worried about different things than the road. Even raising the driving age a little bit could help. Most teens make a big deal out of little things they shouldn’t be worrying about, like clothes, or “texting.” I don’t know a lot of adults that do text unless they absolutely have to.

    What I’m trying to say is that teens are not responsible enough to drive yet, but that rule only goes to an extent. We are not “going to raise the driving age to 50.” It DOES make a difference.

  9. David April 16, 2008 at 6:25 pm #

    I believe that the minimum drivning age should be the same but the permit expirience to get a licence should be longer.

  10. David April 17, 2008 at 5:59 pm #


  11. anonymous April 18, 2008 at 7:06 pm #

    People will say that if the age is set higher then by the time kids come around to driving they will be more experienced, more wiser etc. So what? Wheather or not your wiser or more experienced matters not because weather you start at 17 or 21 your still going to be a beginner when it comes to driving perhaps they should make an intelligence test of some sort to only let the most intelligent and wise drive at 17 and everyone else at 21!

  12. Jubed April 18, 2008 at 10:25 pm #

    Raising the age to 21 is just stupid. If young drivers have to wait 3 more extra years, they will JOY RIDE!
    That will lead them to driving dangerousley to get away. Catching and puting them in jail will also cost alot of money. One night in a cell is the equivallent to “”£150″”.

  13. Kyle McKee May 20, 2008 at 3:52 pm #

    most certantly all of the pons above were correct-o-mundo in which driving is for total squares

  14. Charlotte May 24, 2008 at 10:16 pm #

    I strongly disagree with raising the driving age to 18, however I believe that other measures should be put in place to reduce the amount of road deaths. For example, people should have to re-take their tests every x number of years in order that crazy drivers are removed from the roads and perhaps other rules such as people under a certain age not being able to carry young passengers or drink any alcohol and drive after a certain time would be appropriate.

  15. R Dot Tuning June 8, 2008 at 10:18 am #

    Listen yeah the diving age should not be changed to 18 or even to 21. There are going to be big problems and more people being arrested for driving without a license. Teenagers need to travel to college and university so it will be a big problem.

  16. Courtney September 6, 2008 at 7:58 am #

    I think that if the driving age is raised a lot of teenagers will become more accelerated to drive under the legal age and if that occures then there is gonna be a lot more people being arrested for driving under age. DONT RAISE THE AGE!!!

  17. Courtney September 6, 2008 at 8:09 am #

    I have to admit that I would like to drive soon as but if they raise the age then I will become more lazy and not feel like there is something to look forward to when am older and in the zone for driving. If they raise the age for driving I will in the future find it harder to attend earning money. Example: A job that pays well but takes energy and getting up in the morning and bussing or walking to where I would work, when I could get up in the morning and want to go to work because I can drive there and it would only take me 5 minutes or so as aposed to 20-30 minutes. What would an 16 year old do without being able to wake up in the morning or afternoon and driving to his mates place or to something social like the movies? Come on… Do we seriously want teens being and getting bored of life and it’s rules? I don’t know about you… but what if that WAS you?

  18. Ramotar September 7, 2008 at 7:09 am #

    lets just keep at 18 if you people don’t mind

  19. Snow October 7, 2008 at 11:05 pm #

    I think all of this is “absurd” you dont need to change the driving age because if you do you’ll probably just end up with more teens breaking the law and driving without a lisense. You should just make the tests harder to take so then you can give a lisense to someone that you feel confident will be focused on the road instead of on a cell phone or more concerened about what song is on the radio.

  20. Reaper October 16, 2008 at 2:40 pm #

    Listen guys/girls, i think it should not go up, but obtaining a license should get harder, and alsio losing it should get alot easier…

  21. james November 4, 2008 at 7:49 pm #

    ok im a 17 year old and i have an apprenticeship that is 28 miles away and you expect me to catch 8 buses to get there every day
    my first point is that the driving age shouldn’t be changed but maybe give younger drivers less warnings i have never been pulled over i consider my self a good driver having never crashed or been done for speeding and i drive 7 days a week. my car is my means of transport without it ill loose my job i am sure i am not the only one like that

  22. james November 4, 2008 at 7:54 pm #

    second point is that changing it to 18 what other things can people do when they turn 18…. drink. explains its self

    and if you want more people on public transport make it better there is not enough trains and buses are crap i love driving because it means i can get out there and sure it may not be the friendly answer to the environment but end of the day as long as people can power their cars they are going to drive them

  23. Michael November 5, 2008 at 1:35 am #

    Don’t increase the driving age, enough said.

  24. haydar donmez November 25, 2008 at 9:19 pm #

    i think the driving law should not be decreased but more elderly people shouldent be alowed to drive

  25. siar December 15, 2008 at 4:45 am #

    No, they shouldn’t increase the age. because at the moment i am 15. that means I h ave wait for 6 years, if they change the legal driving age to 21.

  26. G December 17, 2008 at 7:17 pm #

    How is age a way of determining driving competence? You can be a shit driver at the age of 21, 31 or even 101.
    Driving tests need to be more relevant with more time spent on the roads gaining skills instead of pissing about with stopping distances which were probably written in the 60s and based on a Vauxhall Viva doing 40mph on a motorway.

  27. alyssa January 16, 2009 at 3:25 am #

    NO THE AGE SHOULD NOT BE RAISED …it should be lowered to 14!!!!:D

  28. eazy-e January 22, 2009 at 5:41 pm #

    infact i think it should be increaased to 32

  29. Branden Cabler February 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    i think the driving age should be 13 and up

  30. g_singh February 4, 2009 at 12:20 pm #

    in my point of view hey should change driving 17 to 21 because ass you can see that such drivers are irresponsible of driving, youngsters at he age of 17/18 they all like o drink think the life is just 4 fun. drink and drive, not wearing seatbelts thinking that is cool not to wear it. the government should diffenetly increase it.

  31. Charles Guerrero February 20, 2009 at 7:51 pm #

    I think thats absurd, the driving age should rise to 21 and 18. You are brainless, I have trouble getting in time for my jobs and school. The bus won’t even come in time for school. If I need to cycle earlier to get the bus more earlier, i need to skip breakfast or I have to wake up more early and not enough sleep and that is another way of being obesed.

  32. Charles Guerrero February 20, 2009 at 7:52 pm #

    I mean shouldn’t!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  33. GV March 1, 2009 at 6:16 pm #

    That is ludacris….obesity be decreased….everyone of every age has trouble with obestiy not only teenagers.

  34. sara March 5, 2009 at 4:35 pm #

    this is stupid the driving age should be at age 11

  35. gonnabeastupiddoctersomeday March 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    i think the driver age should be 25 and above… but 25 and below could drive,but not on the road…

    it more of a responsible age that’s why

    teens are responsible but they are also ignorant and careless… they sometimes forget about seatbelts, speeding limit, don’t drive after drugs (cocaine, sleeping pills, any drugs with serious side effects etc) or alcohol etc. , etc., etc.

    old people over 50 and above are gradually getting slower and older, so there reflexes are just slow

  36. jimmy March 25, 2009 at 5:19 pm #

    the thrid thing is crap cant like ummmmm lose weight walking everywhere

  37. achmedenijhaad April 1, 2009 at 10:19 pm #

    welllllllllllllllllllllllll 11, 12, 13, AND 14 year olds cant see over the steering wheel or reach the pedals… much less drive. alone.

  38. lucy April 4, 2009 at 8:44 pm #

    i belive that if the driving age increases to 21 no one will be able to work! YES THERES BUSES but they are exteamly expensive! The age to drive has been 17 for a very long time so why now should it go up? Its just like the smoking age why did it go up its stupid its just since Gordon Brown became priminister everything has gone down the plug hole why should we have to listen? He doesnt have a clue and i personally think he should be out now!!

  39. lewis April 21, 2009 at 11:50 am #

    Driving should be kept at 17 as it gives teenagers indiepndance