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The Contender
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5 Points

Mandatory Driving Age Requirement to 18

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/26/2015 Category: Politics
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 459 times Debate No: 74234
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (1)




The age at which you are legally allow to drive differs from state to state, but in most states the age requirement is 16. In some American states it can be 15 or younger (1). Usually you are allowed to take a driving test a year or more before you can vote or drink alcohol. But it is the younger drivers who are involved in the higher rate of accidents. In the United States, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is nearly 3 times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. Risk is highest at ages 16-17 (2). For the past few years, there have been attempts in Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and Massachusetts to increase their driving age, although these attempts are unlikely to change anything in the foreseeable future (3). Because of the risk younger drivers present, my argument is for lawmakers to raise the legal driving age requirement to 18 years old in all states.



Learning the hard way is often the best way. As with most things, driving is a skill that has to be learned. It is not something you can memorize, take the test, and get an "A!" People can be told how to maintain control of their car, but until they get the real experience themselves, it won"t be real.

Raising the driving age from 16 to 18 will not make a difference. Learning a new skill at any age will be difficult and will come with bumps along the way. Becoming a smart driver is wholly experiential and gaining that experience, whether it be at 16 or 30, would be the exact same.

Our country is already implementing the right laws to prevent fatalities on the roadway. Texting & Driving laws for example are a great step in the right direction. Our country can also take more aggressive steps such as making it much more difficult to get a license and punish more harshly those who drive recklessly.

If it"s unlikely to change, why do a debate on it? Shouldn"t we instead of focusing on rising the age of driving to require more experience with new drivers before they drive alone? I don"t doubt statistics, but actively working to make our new drivers better drivers isn"t going to happen if we just keep prolonging their ability to drive.

After doing some research, I found an article that researchers from the National Institute of Health discovered that there is a section of the brain, they called it the "executive branch" that is responsible for weighing risks, making judgments and controls impulsive behavior. This obviously is less developed in teens. The NIH suggested that this portion of the brain does not fully develop until 25. Should we make people wait until they are 25 to get their drivers license?

Davis, R. (2005, March 2). Is 16 Too Young To Drive A Car? Retrieved April 27, 2015, from
Debate Round No. 1


You made the point of increasing the age requirement to 25 because most adult's brain do no develop until then. My response to that statement is.... maybe that's not such a bad idea if it makes the roads safer. Well 25 may be a little extreme but 18 is an ideal age in my opinion. Raising the driving age would cause for there to be much less vehicles on the roads. Having less cars on road on the roadways, even if its just a small amount, would absolutely benefit the society and increase the overall safety of other drivers. It would help prevent overcrowding on roadways, limit congestion and allow traffic to move more freely. This would also in turn lower the amount of traffic accidents.
Limiting the amount of cars on the road by an age restriction would also help the environment. The vehicles we drive are a major cause of global warming. Collectively, cars and trucks account for nearly one-fifth of all U.S. emissions, emitting around 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other global-warming gases for every gallon of gas. About 5 pounds comes from the extraction, production, and delivery of the fuel, while the great bulk of heat-trapping emissions (more than 19 pounds per gallon) comes right out of a car"s tailpipe. So any measure that creates safer roads and a safer environment due to the reduction of car use should absolutely be considered.


Is there a statistic out there that supports the "there will be less drivers on the road" argument? I can see how that might be a potential result of raising the driving age, but at 5PM, during rush hour, it"s not teen drivers you seen on the road. It"s adults leaving their jobs. The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute actually reported that every year, fewer and fewer teens are getting their license. In 2008, 31% of the teens turning 16 that year got their licenses. In 2010, it decreased another two percent! Teens aren"t what are overcrowding roadways and causing congestion.

To address the emissions argument, that"s just crazy. I understand that protecting the environment is important, but there are more harmful things being emitted into our atmosphere than car emissions. In the world right now, there are approximately 1.3 billion cows. Just like any other animal, they expel gases. However, the gas expelled by cows is methane, which, statistically, is 25 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. In 2006, the United Nations" Food and Agriculture Organization reported that the livestock sector (most of which are cows) "generate more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent (18%) than transportation." According to the same study, the average cow produces enough methane per year to do the same greenhouse damage as four tons of carbon dioxide. Methane is also naturally emitted from wetlands as well as human activities like natural gas systems in homes. So"are over crowded highways causing global warming or livestock? I think this is a ridiculous avenue to take with the driving argument, but I"ll address it nonetheless.

Discussing the driving age is necessary because as stated previously, there are significantly higher injury rates in teen drivers than those who have more experience. The key word there is EXPERIENCE. Teen drivers will always be crappy drivers until they"ve become more experienced. When I first became a paralegal, I made mistakes. Just like everyone does when they are LEARNING. Making teens wait to learn something doesn"t make them better at it. Prolonging the learning process only makes the situation worse.

Blitz, Matt. "Do Cow Farts Actually Contribute to Global Warming?" Gizmodo., 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.

Goldmark, Alex. "Study Confirms Fewer Young People Getting Driver's Licenses." Transportation Nation. 20 July 2012. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.

EPA (2010). Methane and Nitrous Oxide Emissions from Natural Sources . U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC, USA.

U.S. Department of State (2007). Projected Greenhouse Gas Emissions. In: Fourth Climate Action Report to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change . U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, USA.
Debate Round No. 2


The way that I would go about increasing this age requirement would be through the implementation of Graduated Driving Licensing (GDL) laws. Now most states, including Georgia, already have GDL laws in place. But what I would do is make these laws more strict and uniform across every state.

1) Persons at the age of 17, will be allowed to get a restricted license. There are currently 9 states in the U.S. that allow 14 year olds to get a restricted license. This is a huge problem in my opinion. Most children at 14 are still in middle school. Something just doesn't sit right with me that children this young are behind the wheel of vehicles, whether they are supervised of not.

2) There will be two stages associated with restricted licenses, Stage 1 and Stage 2. Stage 1 will last 6 months and would require supervised driving by someone aged 25 with 4+ years of driving experience. Stage 1 drivers will also have a curfew and will not be allowed to drive from 10 pm -6 am. Drivers will become Stage 2 once they meet the Stage 1 requirements. Stage 2 will last another 6 months and drivers are not required to be supervised. Their curfew will also be extended 2 hours from 12 am- 6 pm. Once the requirements from Stage 2 are met drivers will be allowed to take a driving test to get a full unrestricted license.

3) If there are any violations observed during the restricted stages, discipline will given at the discretion of law enforcement. Discipline can range from time added to a stage or a drop from one or multiple stages.

4) While in the restricted stage, drivers will be required to obtain a decal for the vehicle they drive that indicates what stage they are in. Drivers must have these decals placed on their cars before they are officially considered to be in a stage. Currently New Jersey is the only state with a measure requiring those younger than 21 without full-privilege licenses to display a decal on their vehicle identifying them as new drivers. These decals are a great way for law enforcement and other drivers to determine who the new drivers are on the roads around them.

While this is just a bare bones version of the changes that I would make to the laws that are in place currently, the implementation of some or all of the points that I made would improve the driving environment significantly.


What about the expense of implementing a Graduated Driving License? Where will the funding come from for all these new implementations?

First, I agree that 14 years old is too young to be driving. I couldn"t even see over a steering wheel at that point! However, what about the burden being placed on parents for their children being unable to drive at sixteen? I know that although I did not have the luxury of having a new vehicle at sixteen, I had a way to transport myself and my parents forced me to have the responsibility to take care of that vehicle, maintain it, and work to pay for the insurance and gas.

Second, the restrictions that you discuss are already in place for new drivers. As a teen, until you"re 18 and obtain a Class C License, you"re not allowed to drive between the hours of midnight and 6 A.M. I think that not having the ability to drive after 10PM is a little strict to teenagers that have fast food jobs because most restaurants don"t close until around that time and clean up time is extensive, especially on weekends. I know that as a server in high school, this would have been impossible for me to work under those constraints. New drivers also have restrictions about the number of passengers in a vehicle with them. Although not as strict as the stages you"ve displayed, I think these would be unobtainable constraints due to the schedules and life styles of most families with teens.

Third, again, these restrictions already exist. If you get speeding tickets, reckless driving tickets, etc., the courts have the ability to take your drivers license, at any time, not just when you are a new driver. These stages and steps overcomplicate a system that is already working very effectively.

Fourth, this again seems like another unnecessary step to put another burdensome cost on new drivers and their families. The government has a fee for everything. When you get your license, I"m sure that there would be a fee associated with this new driver decal should be implemented. Also, are there any statistics from New Jersey stating that these reflective decals have decreased accidents at all? I couldn"t find any that support this theory. Also, with whatever statistics you find, you have to account for the fact that each year the number of teens getting their license is decreasing. So, this could account for any decrease in accidents in the New Jersey area. Unless a study is done, the reflective decals don"t really prove that they are any better than any other laws in place to reduce accidents in new drivers.

"Graduated Driver License." State of New Jersey. 10 May 2010. Web. 29 Apr. 2015.
Debate Round No. 3
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1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Lumberjay85 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:15 
Reasons for voting decision: This was a tough one. Both arguments were well written at an equal level. Con came across as a little hostile in a couple of places, but used more reliable sources. In the end, I had to award the "convincing argument" to Con. The final round for Pro seemed a little irreverent to the debate, as it was about what he would do if the resolution were true, instead of why it should be.