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Increasing the driving age may not make the roads safer

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

When you sort fatal car accidents by age group, it quickly becomes clear that teen drivers are a major risk. Their age group has the highest fatal accident rate. They don’t have the highest totals, because there aren’t that many teenage drivers, but the rate at which they get involved in deadly crashes is disproportionate to that small age group.

As such, some have said that teens just aren’t ready to drive, or at least that the driving age should be moved up from 16 to 18. Some advocate moving it all the way up to 21. But would this actually help?

The issue is experience

This could help in some ways. Older drivers have more highly developed brains, for example, and may make better decisions. They may also be less likely to get distracted by things like having friends in the car with them.

But one of the main reasons that teenagers get involved in so many serious accidents is just that they are inexperienced drivers. They need time to refine their skills, learn how to read road conditions and practice driving safely. This is why there is often a decline in fatal accident rates as soon as drivers reach their 20s. They have four years of experience as a driver, so they’re just getting better at it.

Moving the driving age up to 18 or 21 may just change the age at which those inexperienced drivers hit the road. They still need to gain experience, and they’re going to cause car accidents while they are doing it. Those who have been injured in these accidents need to know if they can seek compensation for medical bills and other costs.