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Study Says States Should Raise Driving Age

By Margaret Lyons in News on Sep 9, 2008 4:37PM

2008_9_9.driving.jpgA new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says states should raise the age at which teens can get drivers licenses to 17 or 18. The report says higher licensing age "would save lives."

South Dakota licenses the youngest drivers, at 14-and-1/4, and New Jersey the oldest at 17. According to one of the studies cited in the report, "crash rates for novice 16-year-olds were higher than rates for novice 17 year-olds, but crash rates of novice 17 year-old drivers were not consistently higher than rates of novice 18-19 year-olds."

In Illinois, teens can get learner permits at 15, after which they have to log 50 hours of driving (with a 21-year-old or older licensed driver in the car), take a driver's ed course, and are under a driving curfew. At 16, teens are eligible for a license, but there are still restrictions on who can be in the car, and it's not until 18 that all age-related restrictions are lifted. [IIHS, AP, Beacon News, photo by the_mel]