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IIHS Report Argues That Raising Drivers' License Minimum Age Reduces Teen Crashes

A recent report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety promotes the benefits of delaying licensure of drivers to later ages in an effort to reduce crashes involving teenage drivers. According to the report, which is the result of a study conducted by Allan Williams, IIHS' former chief scientist, teenagers in Great Britain and Australia are not allowed to obtain drivers' licenses until age 17. For most countries in the European Union, the required age is 18. However, most U.S. states-with the exception of New Jersey-allow licensure at around the age of 16; the New Jersey age of licensure is 17.

The IIHS study argues that delaying the age at which licensure is allowed, and providing a graduated system, which usually includes a permit period and limits when and with whom a new, young driver, can take the wheel, reduces crash rates involving teenage drivers.

During this year's legislation sessions, Delaware, Florida, Massachusetts and Georgia saw legislation introduced to raise the minimum age to get a driver's license to 17; likewise, a second bill in Massachusetts proposed a required age of 18 for licensure, while one Illinois also suggested 18. None of these bills prevailed, though.

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