Raising the Legal Driving Age

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Raising the Legal Driving Age from 16 to 18 years old

There is currently a debate occurring in Illinois and several other states regarding the legal age for obtaining a driver’s license. Changing the legal driving age from 16 to 18 years old, following a series of mandated courses, tests, and experience behind the wheel. Some of the primary arguments for doing so revolve around driver and public safety while the arguments for keeping the legal age at its current 16 years of age center on drivers’ rights and the increasing demands within society placed upon teenagers.

While the debate is an important one and certainly should be discussed, the argument often turns into a series of statistical debates, supporting each viewpoint without much being achieved. However, it is my belief that the legal age for obtaining a driver’s license in the state of Illinois does not need to be raised. The fact is that there are sufficient existing rules and regulations involving obtaining a driver’s license. Raising the legal age would only cause more discomfort and difficulty for an age group that is, everyday, being given more responsibilities in terms of work, education, and extra-curricular activities.

The parties that are pushing for an increase to the legal age limit for obtaining a driver’s license have some important observations and concerns.They cite statistics that indicate teen drivers are on average an at risk age group as far as driving accidents are concerned. These parties state that by elevating the minimum age from 16 to18, would directly decrease the incidence of accidents in this age group. These are certainly valid points that can and should be addressed, however, there are other avenues to impact the teen accident rates without an over aggressive regulatory change to the legal age limit.

Many options exist that can impact positive change on the number and incidence rate of teen accidents and unsafe driving habits. Currently, teen drivers in...
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