It seems every year or two the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety publishes a study showing why 16-year-olds shouldn't be trusted with a driver's license. Yet every year, only New Jersey withholds the privilege of four-wheeled freedom until the age of 17.
In this year's report, the IIHS contrasts the rate of fatalities per 100,000 teenage drivers in New Jersey and Connecticut, the latter of which allows 16-year-old drivers. The teen death rate for accidents in Jersey was 4.4 per 100,000, while Connecticut had 20.7 deaths per 100,000 teenage drivers. Those numbers aren't a statistical anomaly, either. Earlier studies of New Jersey and Connecticut revealed similar fatality statistics, and the IIHS concludes that Connecticut could reduce teen fatalities by 66% if the legal driving age was changed to 17.

Even though data shows lower-aged drivers increase injury and death, most states still aren't interested in raising the age to 17. Florida, Massachusetts, Illinois, and Georgia all tried to increase the legal driving age to no avail, and other states aren't even trying.

We're torn on this issue because we remember how exciting it was to receive our driver's license at 16, and our parents were happy to end their chauffeur service. Let us know how old you were when you got your license, and give us your thoughts on what you think the minimum driving age should be in your state.

[Source: IIHS, Photo by djuggler | CC]

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