Learning to Drive in the US
The minimum age for driving varies from state to state. It's usually around 17 years, but if a teenager has completed a Drivers Ed course at school, they can drive at an earlier age. In some rural areas, children can drive at very young ages, but they're limited to driving on "farm roads". These aren't roads within a farm, but are roads designated as "farm roads".
In the table, the minimum age for driving is given - a second figure is the age at which you can drive having completed a Drivers Ed course. As with everything on this site, this is just for general information If you're a teenager and you do plan to drive, you must check the local details. Don't rely on this information!!
For the past couple of years, many states have been changing the way they handle the early years of driving, aware of the very high rate of accidents caused by teenage drivers. A 16-year-old is five times more likely to cause a crash than am 18-year-old, and twice as likely as an 85-year-old. To help reduce the problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has introduced a Graduate Driver Licensing System. In essence, this is a three-phase driving licence:
The eleven states highlighted above have matched (or exceeded) this minimum specification, thirteen others have introduced a partial graduated system, and all are seeing a useful reduction in accidents. Oregon, for instance, with only a partial introduction of the scheme, has seen a 16% reduction in accidents in the 16-17 age group.