Essay on “Should the driving age be raised to twenty-one?”

The relationship between automobile accidents and the minimum driving age is a critical issue in the United States. With few exceptions, most municipalities have established the minimum driving age at sixteen years. When compared to drivers over the age of twenty-one, there appears to be a steadily increasing incidence of automobile accidents among drivers under the age of twenty-one. While it is logical to assume that a population of more mature drivers will have fewer accidents, supporters of this view fail to acknowledge the key matters of contention that should influence their support of a minimum driving age of twenty-one. Specifically, supporters of the increased minimum driving age should address the contribution that increased years of driving experience, acquired before a driver’s twenty-first birthday, has in decreasing automotive accident frequency and severity. The influence that risky behaviors have in accidents involving drivers of all ages, and the feasibility of raising the minimum driving age and the effect it will have on productivity in the United States. It is unlikely that increasing the minimum driving age to twenty-one will result in a decrease in the number of accidents in the United States. Instead, the number of accidents will likely increase with a higher percentage of serious and fatal incidences, due largely to driver inexperience. Moreover, productivity will decrease in those regions of the country that have not invested in efficient public transportation systems. Such regions of the United States, as the Northeast, that rely more heavily on established public transportation systems are also likely to be affected, as they do not possess the infrastructure required to absorb increased traffic. An alternative strategy to abate any potential trend should include more rigorous young driver training, greater enforcement and harsher penalties for drivers of all ages that engage in risky behaviors behind the wheel, and investment in public transportation throughout the United States. Such a campaign will likely result in fewer automobile accidents in drivers of all ages while establishing a conduit for increased productivity.

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