Should the UK Reduce or Raise the Legal Age of Driving?
Young drivers are finding it increasingly difficult to get affordable insurance with car insurance companies charging thousands of pounds for first time drivers to get on the road.
Insurance companies state that this is due to teen drivers being a high risk and therefore the chances of having to pay out are significantly increased. Statistics do back this up with 17 year olds being three times more likely to have an accident.
There has long been a debate about the legal age of driving and whether this should be increased or even reduced. Currently in the UK you can start driving when you turn 17 but in other countries this age varies. In America the legal age is 16 in most states but young drivers must complete driver education classes before they get their driving license or learners permit. The legal driving age in China, Japan, India and Canada is 18, but in New Zealand it is only 15 years old.
Most teenagers can’t wait to get behind the wheel of a car, it gives them freedom but also a huge amount of responsibility. There is feeling that reducing the legal driving age would avoid teenagers driving illegally and 16 year olds can currently drive a 50cc scooter or moped on the road which can be just as dangerous as driving a car. The other theory is that if you raise the limit it will just be 18-19 year olds that have accidents not 16-17 year olds, as it is experience that young drivers need not age limits.
On the other side of the argument data shows that by increasing the legal age of driving will significant reduce the number of accidents. Road safety figures show that one in five new drivers aged between 17 to 19 crash within a year of passing their test. But for 17 year olds the risk reduces by 43 per cent after the first year of driving.
A suggestion may be to allow teens to get their learners drivers license at 16 but not permitting them to take a test before 18 years old. By introducing a graduated driving license, it will give teens more time to gain experience on the road with the benefit of an experienced driver accompanying them. Many people also believe that by making the driving test much tougher and harder to pass will help reduce the accident rate for young drivers. Others safety measures which have been implemented in some states in America have been a curfew for teens with no driving after 10 pm and only carrying a premiums.
One thing that everyone does agree on, including parents, other drivers, insurance companies
and motoring organisations is that any measure that save lives on the road and reduces the number of accidents that young drivers have is a good move.